When having a professional salicylic acid peel done, there are three strengths: light, medium and dark. A light peel consists of 10% salicylic acid while a medium strength will have 20%. Dark strengths use 30%. The skin will first be cleansed to remove any dirt and oils on the face, then a prep solution will be applied. The salicylic acid will be applied to the skin, where a slight burning or stinging sensation can be felt. Itching may also be felt, but it will only last a few minutes. Topical discomfort may be felt as the salicylic acid is more penetrating than other chemical peels. The peel will then be neutralised, and then rinsed off with water or a cleanser. After the peel the skin will be red, sh
iny and sensitive, but should only last for a couple of hours. Mild flaking of the skin will most likely occur for 3 to 7 days. If the peel was done for acne control, the skin may purge itself, in which case more acne will be seen. This is only temporary and is a result of clogs in the pores being brought to the top of the skin, erupting in new pimples. A salicylic acid peel can be done every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the desired effects for the skin. More than likely, 4 to 6 peels will need to be done to see optimum results.
After the peel, the skin will be very sensitive to the sun. If you must be out in the sun, wear a good sunscreen and stay covered with a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. Seek shade and avoid the sun during peak hours. Avoid picking at peeling skin, and if the skin is dry, use a quality moisturiser. Do not exercise for 24 hours after the salicylic acid peel as sweat will cause a stinging sensation on the skin.