Salicylic acid is an organic, crystalline, beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used for the treatment of skin conditions, primarily acne. It originates from the bark of the willow tree, though it is now synthetically prepared and has varied uses, including that of food preservation. As a skin treatment formulation, it is used in low concentrations for the manufacture of skin exfoliation and acne treatment products. In higher concentrations, it is used in a cosmetic procedure called a salicylic acid peel. This acid has anti-inflammatory properties. It is a form of the organic acid that is the basis of the ever-popular drug, aspirin. The very same anti-inflammatory properties make it effective as a product for the treatment of acne and as a chemical peeling agent. It has been used with highly-effective results.
Before and After
Although it is possible to perform a salicylic acid peel at home, a consultation with a dermatologist is imperative. If this is your first time, it's best to get it done at the hands of a certified professional. However, there are a number of DIY kits which come with detailed explanations. Hence, if you're confident about the procedure, follow the instructions carefully to do it successfully. If you choose to get the peel done at a clinic, your dermatologist will take down details about your medical history, including sensitivity to any particular agents or products, or known allergy-causing agents.
He or she will then decide whether or not this peel is the correct treatment for your skin, and what results you can expect from it. There are many other options aside from this, like glycolic peels, mild, medium, and deep peels, microdermabrasion treatments, laser treatments, and many other therapies which may be applicable as a solution. However, in the event that your choice is salicylic acid, the following are some points to keep in mind.
Salicylic acid is generally used for mild peels in concentrations of 4-20%. The beta hydroxy acids essentially 'peel' off a layer of dead skin cells, revealing a new layer of skin beneath. Although preparations are available for home use, this peel is toxic when inhaled, so ensure that you follow the safety instructions properly. The procedure is fairly simple. The preparation is applied onto cleaned skin and left on for between 10 and 20 minutes. The dermatologist will check your progress at regular intervals to ensure optimum results.
Post a peel session, your skin may be inflamed, red, and itchy, along with flakiness or dryness. This is fairly normal and should die down within a few days. It's vital to avoid sun exposure after a chemical peel, since beta hydroxy acids increase your skin's photo sensitivity. If you must go out, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF at least 20 minutes prior to going out. Ideally, wear a hat or carry an umbrella.
Before you choose to go through with this procedure, do your research well and make sure you get a dermatologist's take on the correct kind of treatment for your skin. While it may not show immediate results, most users give this procedure a thumbs up for results in 6-8 sessions. Ensure that you follow a good skin care routine and combine it with a good diet and exercise to get a clear and glowing complexion.