Salicylic Acid Peels: Benefits and Side Effects

Salicylic Acid Peels: Benefits and Side Effects

Written by Dhatri

Everyone cares for their skin and invests in skincare products and treatments for beautiful, glowing skin. But, are we completely aware of our skin and its needs? Don't you think it needs a little attention?

Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days. Yes, our skin cells undergo a turnover cycle every month, producing new cells on the top layer of the skin. But the dead cells don’t shed at times and remain in the top layer, resulting in dryness, dullness, and flaky patches. Dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria clog your pores when they combine, leading to acne.

Under these circumstances, exfoliation plays a vital role in treating acne, dryness, and sun tanning.

Now, you might be wondering how to choose an exfoliant for your skin. With exfoliants, you have more options to choose from based on your skin type. One of the top exfoliants is "Salicylic Acid Peel". This salicylic acid is an ingredient in sunscreen lotions. Salicylic acid peel is a chemical peel that exfoliates the skin and reduces fine lines, wrinkles, acne, scars, uneven skin colouring, and skin imperfections.

Exfoliation with salicylic acid is a prescription-strength treatment. Many cosmetics contain salicylic acid, but a peel will address the deep layers of the skin.

In this article, we'll explore salicylic acid peels and their benefits.

 Salicylic Acid Peels

What are Salicylic Acid Peels?

A salicylic acid peel is a chemical peel that is mostly used to treat acne. It is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) used on the skin for more than 2000 years. This compound is extracted from natural sources like willow bark, sweet birch, and wintergreen leaves, as well as synthesized.

Salicylic acid is best known for its ability to deep clean pores and reduce oil production, making it a great choice for oily skin. It helps keep pores clean and free of clogs, preventing further whiteheads and blackheads.

It is a precursor to aspirin and is found in many cosmetic products. The peel is well tolerated by all types of skin. It is a safe and effective treatment option.

The following are the benefits of salicylic acid peels:

Prevents Whiteheads and Blackheads:

Salicylic acid peels aim at blackheads and whiteheads directly and prevent them from returning to the surface level of the skin.

It removes dead skin cells:

It exfoliates the dead skin cells and accelerates cell renewal.

Acne Prevention:

It unclogs pores and reduces acne as it helps the skin to clear out dead skin, dirt, and other impurities.

Even Skin Tone:

The removal of dead cells helps in smoothening rough patches and gives an even skin tone.

Cleans excess oils:

It cleans up excess oil and reduces oil levels moving forward.

Minimizes Pores:

It tightens the pores, reducing the appearance of the pores.

Side Effects of Salicylic Acid Peels

The side effects of salicylic acid are mild and usually, end within one or two weeks. People with sensitive skin may experience some side effects, but they can use a minimal amount. Some of the side effects are redness, itchiness, skin peeling, and a mild tingling sensation.

People who are allergic to aspirin or any kind of skin irritation are advised not to use salicylic acid peels. If there are any health issues, then consult a doctor before using salicylic acid peels.

Bottom Line:

Salicylic acid peels are great exfoliants that penetrate deep into the skin and treat them. It is mild and safe for every skin type, especially oily skin. It is always better to consult a physician before using chemical peels.


“Salicylic Acid Peel: Benefits & Side Effects.” WebMD,, 13 June 2021,

“Salicylic Acid as a Peeling Agent: A Comprehensive Review - PMC.” PubMed Central (PMC),, 1 Jan. 2015,

“A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels: A Review of Fundamentals and Step-by-Step Algorithmic Protocol for Treatment.” PubMed Central (PMC),, 1 Aug. 2018,