Salicylic Peels are a dermatologist’s key ally when dealing with acne and acne scars. They are especially helpful as they combat the oiliness in skin and shrink enlarged pores. The core ingredient is salicylic acid, which falls in the category of beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs. Salicylic acid is an exfoliant and has anti-irritant/anti-inflammatory properties. It can penetrate the pores of the skin and scoop keratin out of the follicles, which is why it is also the main ingredient in products that treat acne lesions, including whiteheads and blackheads.
Regarded as a superficial or light peel, Salicylic Peels are relatively painless, quick healing and have fewer side effects than deeper peels. As a result, they demand minimal downtime, making Salicylic the essential ‘lunchtime peel’.
The acne formation process begins in the skin’s oil glands. The oils travel up the follicles and empty onto the skin surface through the pores.
The hair, oil and cells that line the narrow follicle can form a plug that blocks the pore, preventing oil from reaching the skin’s surface. This mix of oil and cells allows bacteria that normally live on the skin to grow in plugged follicles. The body’s defence system then moves to attack the bacteria and the area gets inflamed.
If the plug or blockage stays beneath the skin, it creates a white bump called a whitehead. If it reaches the surface of the skin and opens up, you get a blackhead. Both whiteheads and blackheads may stay in the skin for a long time. Eventually, the wall of the plugged follicle can break down, leading to pimples, or zits.
Salicylic acid has oil-dissolving properties, which help it penetrate clogged pores and breakdown any excess sebum. In the treatment of acne on oily skin, the peel dries up the existing acne-causing whiteheads; blackheads and pimples, exfoliates skin scarred by previous breakouts to reveal the underlying skin that emerges flawless.
Now for acne scars. Once a lesion heals, it can leave behind a pigmented mark on the skin. This is because every pimple results in loss or formation of tissues in the healing process. The loss of tissue results in milder scars, while formation of new, thicker tissue can result in more severe scars.
Salicylic acid peels off the top layer of skin by softening the bonds that hold dead epidermal cells. This accelerated exfoliation helps in resurfacing the skin and removing unevenly pigmented spots.
It also helps in speeding up the skin’s natural cell turnover process, boosting collagen production, and making the skin look taut and toned.
Salicylic peels penetrate only the top layer of skin, and work to make it clearer, brighter, smoother – with a polished, healthy radiance. You would surely see a clearing of acne lesions.
During the Salicylic Peel treatment, your skin will feel warm and prickly, but that’s all. Following the treatment session, you may observe mild redness, with a slight chance of flakiness setting in around 3 days after the treatment and lasting around 4 days).
A quick word on aftercare. Do keep in mind that the skin gets more sensitive to the sun, particularly soon after the peel, so ensure that you routinely apply sunscreen. Your dermatologist may recommend specialised aftercare products that deliver added sun protection and help maintain the moisture balance of your skin.
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