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Salicylic Acid Chemical Peels

Salicylic acid peels can improve congested and acne prone skin. This medical grade peel is a chemical exfoliant and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is best applied for blackhead acne, but it can also be used as a maintenance peel for acne prone and oily skin.

Key Points

  • Salicylic acid (SA) peels are best for acne and congested skin
  • This medical grade peel is oil soluble, which translates to deep penetration into follicles.
  • SA reduces excessive oil & exfoliates the follicle, reducing congestion. 
  • SA is anti-inflammatory & kills acne forming bacteria
  • Peeling accelerates your cell turnover rate, so while you’re reducing the risk of breakouts, you will also be improving your skin’s health.
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Salicylic Acid Chemical Peels at a glance

For: Acne, congestion, oily skin
Procedure time: 12 minutes
Duration of results: Variable
Back to work: 2-5 sessions
Recovery: 0- 3 days
Anaesthetic: Nil
Your specialist: Nurse
How much: $

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        What can salicylic acid do for my skin?

        Salicylic acid (SA) is BHA or beta hydroxy acid peel. It can-

        • Reduce blackheads & congestion
        • Improve skin clarity & texture
        • Reduce pimples & acne
        • Help regulate oil production

        Salicylic acid peels can be integrated with acne treatments including topical retinoids. It is compatible with Oratane/Accutane therapy.  

        How do salicylic acid peels work?

        Salicylic Acid or SA is a keratolytic. This means it helps loosen the bonds between skin cells to promote chemical exfoliation.

        SA is oil soluble & hence penetrates the oil gland, cleaning out clogged pores. SA is also great for exfoliating congested follicles & at the same time reducing inflammation from acne. 

        What is the recovery following salicylic acid peels?

        This peel has a recovery of 1 to 3 days, depending on the concentration we use. 

        Your therapist will discuss the projected recovery prior to the peel. 

        After the peel, you can expect some redness. Gentle peeling can occur for 72 hours with higher concentrations.

        What are post peel recommendations?

        Follow all the aftercare advice given to you by your therapist.

        • Apply moisturiser to your skin twice a day. If you are on prescription retinoids, avoid application for 4-7 days. 
        • Wear sunscreen twice a day, avoiding direct sun exposure for 2 weeks
        • If you wear makeup, continue to do so.
        • Let your skin peel naturally, do not rub or pick at your skin.
        • Your dermatologist will give you specific instructions if you are on acne medication.

        When will I see results?

        Results can be seen after only one high strength salicylic acid peel.

        Most patients undertake a series of 2-5 peels, conducted every 1-2 weeks for optimal outcomes. 


        Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF50+

        Dermaceutic All Things Pigment 21 Day Kit

        Salicylic acid peels are used to treat acne, blackheads, congested pores & oily skin. They can also reduce inflammation associated with acne. This peel can be safely used on all skin types.

        When is a salicylic acid peel NOT right for you?

        You are not a candidate if you have:

        • Aspirin allergies 
        • You have a bun in the oven (breastfeeding OK)
        • You’re suffering from active Herpes Simplex cold sores
        • You have rosacea or sensitive skin

        Book a FREE* nurse consultation in our Brisbane clinics to see what peel is best for you. T&C apply.

        What are the side effects of BHA peels?

        Performed by trained clinicals, BHA peels are safe. Side effects though rare, include:

        • Blistering
        • Worsening of red acne spots
        • Post peel blotchy skin 
        • Post peel pigmentation
        • Scarring
        • Infection

        Can all skin types be treated with salicylic acid?

        Yes, this medical-grade peel is safe in all skin types, including dark skin. Sun protection before & post peeling will reduce side effects such as skin color changes.
        We adjust the concentration of this peel in darker skin patients. 

        What should you consider before undertaking salicylic acid peels?

        There is no one peel fits all, & hence you should carefully consider- 

        Your acne type: Salicylic acid is best for comedonal or blackhead acne. If you have deep cysts, extractions are required.  Hormonal acne can improve on peels, but most cases require specialist intervention. 

        Your skin type: You must sun protect pre & post peel. If you receive a lot of UV, peels may not be the best option.

        Number of treatments: Will vary depending on the peeling agent. Salicylic peels require multiple sessions, ranging from 2-6.

        Your scar history: If you have acne scars, TCA or retinoic acid peels are better. 

        Need more information?

        Book a FREE* laser nurse consultation. They will examine your skin, understand your goals & concerns & provide a clear program to meet your expectations. *T&Cs applies

        Superficial medical grade peels including salicylic & retinoic acid peels are performed by nurses. 

        Deep peels are performed by dermatologists in an operating theatre. 

        Ask us more about this treatment

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