June 8, 2017
salicylic acid peel

Salicylic acid peel at home-step by step guide

A salicylic acid peel is an ideal treatment for blackheads, acne, pimples and large pores. If done properly and safely, it clears blemished skin and gives you a glowing, smooth skin. If you intend to do your own salicylic acid peel at home, here is what you need to know about this powerful exfoliant.

Salicylic acid (known as BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acid) is a naturally-occurring compound in certain plants including willow bark, sweet birch bark, and wintergreen leaves. The compound is widely used to make topical skin remedies in various forms including gels, creams, and ointments. In addition, acetylsalicylic acid, a chemically similar synthetic compound extracted from salicylic acid commonly known as aspirin is used to treat pain and reduce inflammation.

Salicylic acid contains keratinolytic properties. These break down keration, a protein that forms part of the skin structure. The ability of the acid to break down keratin is what make it an excellent exfoliant because it assists the skin to shed dead skin cells that are scaly, dry and give the skin a dull appearance. Salicylic acid is commonly used in anti-dandruff shampoos due to its keratinolytic properties to enable shampoos to flush away dead cells.

Benefits of salicylic acid peel at home

Salicylic acid is fat soluble and could sink into pores. The effectiveness is it can break down lipids and sebum. That is good for reducing acne.

  • Antifungal properties
    The compound contains antifungal properties which make it highly effective in treating a fungus known as tinea, a common cause of skin infections. The acid can also eliminate tinea versicolor, a condition that affects the top layer of the skin resulting in discolored, scaly patches.
  • Antipyretic and analgesic properties
    The pain-relieving (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory (antipyretic) qualities of the acid are two properties that make this compound a highly effective skin care product and a great remedy for psoriasis and acne.
  • Help clean your pores and reduce pores, improve skin texture
  • Help remove dead cells on the surface skin.It’s pretty effective in wiping out pore clogging dirt and oil.

Best concentration of Salicylic acid for face peeling

Salicylic acid is the only beta-hydroxy acid used in the skin care industry. It accomplishes the same goal in skin care as alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycol acid and lactic acid, however, it used in milder concentrations. Products used to treat acne may contain up to 30 percent of alpha-hydroxy acids but only 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid is required in similar products to achieve the same results.

The acid works similarly to benzoyl peroxide and is most effective when applied regularly even after acne has cleared. If you stop using the acid to cleanse and exfoliate the skin, you run the risk of getting clogged pores and the recurrence of acne.

Basically, the best concentration of the salicylic acid peel at home should be 15 percent. If you start with anything higher than that, your skin is likely to get irritated. In addition, there is no need to use a stronger dose as long as the peel is effective. Over time, you can increase the concentration to 30 percent but only when the skin is able to handle weaker concentrations without getting irritated.

Treatment scheme

To get a blemish-free, glowing skin, you need to apply the acid peel every 2 weeks for about 2 to 3 months. During the initial phase of the treatment, allow the acid peel to stay on the face for 1 minute. If your skin can handle the peel without reacting negatively for 1 minute, you can consider increasing the duration gradually to a maximum of 5 minutes.
If you still have clogged pores and blemishes, you can repeat the treatment after 3 months have lapsed with a concentration of 15-20 percent. Keep in mind that the concentration should be increased gradually.

Things you need to make salicylic peeling at home

Making the salicylic acid peel at home is quite easy and straightforward. All you need are just a few things to make this powerful blemish treatment and you are good to go. Things you need include:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Rubbing alcohol this is ideal for removing fats and oils from skin before applying the peel to enable the acid work optimally.
  • Cleanser
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed in two cups of water- this is your neutralizing solution.
  • Glass bowl, fan brush or gauze to apply the peel
  • A gentle moisturizer-this is for applying after exfoliating the skin. You can consider using coconut oil which has antibacterial properties.
  • A clock or timer
Step by step guide to apply the peel

To apply the salicylic acid peel at home, you need to follow this process:

  • Cleanse the skin thoroughly using a cleanser and pat dry
  • Apply the rubbing alcohol on the skin to eliminate grease on the skin
  • Pour a small amount of the acid into a bowl and use a fan brush to apply the peel evenly on the skin. Alternatively, you can use a gauze pad soaked in the salicylic solution to apply the peel like a toner. If you opt to use this method, you need to don gloves to protect your hands.

When applying the peel avoid getting it into your eyes. You can consider starting from the T-zone and work your way out to the cheeks since these are the areas that tend to have more sebum.

  • As soon as you apply the first stroke, set the timer
  • Watch in the mirror to see if your skin will react

You will notice some stinging or tingling, this is normal and shows the peel is working. If the tingling gets worse after about 30 seconds, remove the peel.

  • Once your timer says 1 minute is up, apply the baking soda solution on the skin to neutralize the peel. Continue to splash the face with the soda solution for a minute and then wipe thoroughly using a soft cloth.

If you face is feeling hot, splash it with cold water or apply a cold washcloth.

  • Pat dry and apply a hydrating moisturizer to calm the skin
What will happen when you make a facial peel with Salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid peel is a highly effective remedy for opening white heads which can be extracted later by squeezing with a tissue. Alternatively, you can leave the comedones alone and let them dry out since the acid will have worked on them already.In some instances, you might notice a slight flaking of the skin. Rather than picking at the flakes, apply vaseline or a moisturizer. This should remedy the flaking in a few days. To protect the new delicate skin exposed after exfoliation, consider using a sunscreen.


​Though it will take a couple of weeks to see significant changes in your skin, you will notice great improvements on your face after the first treatment. Ultimately, the salicylic acid peel at home is the perfect answer to constant breakouts and blemishes. In addition, it addresses pigmentations, fine lines, and acne scars. To maintain your glowing skin, use the peel once or twice a month.

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