Salicylic Acid Peels

Jessner's Solution (or Jessner’s Peel) is the common name often used for a deeper chemical peel solution made from resorcinol and lactic and salicylic acids. Salicylic peels (a betahydroxy acid) are often applied after a glycolic peel of 30 to 50 percent concentration. 

Although not appropriate for anyone with an active breakout, this type of peel can also provide rejuvenating benefits such as the reduction of fine lines and discoloration, and can stimulate new collagen production (depending on the strength). Although TCA varies in concentration, it is most often a deeper peel that requires about two full weeks of downtime and diligent sun protection both during and after treatment.

Named after New York dermatologist Max Jessner, MD, who invented it, Jessner's Solution is layered on the skin to treat uneven pigmentation, acne, acne scarring and other skin irregularities. You can expect aggressive peeling and occasional crusting forms within two to four days after the peel has been applied. Redness and swelling may last a week or more. Results are visible with new, clearer skin within seven to 10 days, but redness or other pigment changes may persist for several weeks.

What Light Chemical Peels Treat

Betahydroxy acid peels are good for oily skin, acne, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles. Salicylic acid peels, which are similar to low-strength alphahydroxy acid peels, are best for fighting blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores, fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.

“Salicylic acid peels have effects limited to the epidermis because the acid does not penetrate deep within the skin no matter how long it’s left on for,” says Barrington, IL, dermatologist David Van Dam, MD. If your skin is dry or normal, a salicylic acid peel, which is the main type of betahydroxy acid peel, may be too harsh for you. You should always use sunscreen with a high SPF after a betahydroxy peel, since it increases sun sensitivity.

Chemical peels exfoliate the top layer of skin, causing the natural cell turnover process to speed up. Salicylic and glycolic acids are two of the most commonly used ingredients in light peels. They refresh the skin by removing discolored skin cells. Plus, they work wonders on acne-prone skin—oil production is minimized, pores are unplugged, and blemishes, blackheads and whiteheads shrink in size. Unlike microdermabrasion, chemical peels can be a little more intense, depending upon the percentage of acid used.

Salicylic or glycolic peel can be mildly uncomfortable and burn or sting. It’s also normal for skin to be red and dry and peel for a few days after the treatment. 

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