Highlights: Learn more about what can benefit your health more and keep you living happier

Glycolic Peel vs Salicylic Peel

Glycolic Peel vs Salicylic Peel

Exfoliating is great and often recommended because of its numerous skin health benefits. But people sometimes come in confusion on which exfoliating agent they should use, or which one will be well suited for their skin condition. There are basically two types of exfoliating_ physical and chemical. The effectiveness of exfoliating always varies with the type of exfoliating you choose and the exfoliating agent you use.

The most common exfoliating agent under chemical exfoliating is Glycolic Peel and Salicylic Peel. These two agents always create confusion on which one is best and for what. Picking any of this might depends on your skin condition and what you are trying to achieve. We are going to analysis the two exfoliating agents and how best they are applied.

How these two exfoliating agents work also vary a bit and that is why it is important to know about the two before deciding which one to use. Deciding Glycolic Peel versus Salicylic Peel really depends on the type of skin you have.

Glycolic Peel

For starter, Glycolic peel is in the Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHA) group which is a natural occurring acid found in citrus, grapes, sugar cane and apples. Glycolic chemical peel is able to penetrate through the outer layer of the skin cell and break down the dead skin cell to reveal the new living once.

If your skin type is dry and delicate, or your skin is prone to sun damage, then you might want to choose glycolic peel as your exfoliator.

Why should you choose glycolic peel?

The glycolic peel is the most active of the Alpha-Hydroxy acids in skin care, Glycolic acid peel has the smallest molecules which give it the ability to penetrates the skin more easily than any other Alpha-Hydroxy acids like citric acid, like lactic acid and malic acid.

Glycolic peel is best suited for someone with dry skin because of AlphaHydroxy acids has the tendency to improve the skin moisture content.

Using Glycolic peel as your exfoliator also improves the production of collagen and elastin in the skin which improves wrinkling and leave the skin looking smoother, brighter and radiant with a healthy glow.

The improved production of collagen in the skin also accelerates the renewal of new skin cells in the body.

Salicylic Peel

Salicylic Peel is a Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA), which is natural occurring acid from sweet bark trees and willow bark. Salicylic acid Peel works as a keratolytic agent that encourage the shedding of dead skin cells in the body.

Salicylic Peel might just be the best choice for those with oily skin, sensitive skin or acne-prone skin.

Why should you choose Salicylic Peel?

Salicylic Peel has a form of aspirin that acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory action and tend to smooth the surface of the skin.

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory property of Salicylic Peel makes it the safe and effective treatment for various skin conditions such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, mild acne, and textural changes.

Salicylic Peel also makes a perfect exfoliator for oily skin because of its ability to get through oil that clogs pore and break down skin dead cells bound to encourage sloughing.

It also normalizes the lining of misshapen pores that may cause acne.

Salicylic Peel will also leave your skin smooth with healthier glowing by stimulating collagen production on the skin.

For acne treatments, It is recommended to continue using Salicylic Peel even after acne have healed or lesions_ as the acne may return if you stop using.


Both of them might be different in a way or two but they both work exceedingly well at making skin look brighter, smoother, and ultimately younger.

Will my skin peel after a Glycolic peel?

Will my skin peel after a Glycolic peel?

Glycolic peel or chemical peel can help rejuvenate your skin. The glycolic acid in glycolic peels can act on various skin conditions like aging, scars, acne and more. Compared to the other chemical peel treatments, the glycolic peel is milder. It also has a shorter healing time.

The procedure:

  • On the cleansed skin, the glycolic peel is applied
  • It is massaged and left on the on the skin for a few minutes
  • The peel is then cleansed off the skin
  • A moisturizer with SPF is then applied on the treated skin

In most cases, glycolic peel treatments would involve 6 sessions one per week. But you would be able to notice a lot of difference right from the first session. You could choose the frequency and the number of sessions based on your skin type in consultation with your dermatologist.

How it feels:

  • The peel might make it feel prickly and might give a mild stinging sensation.
  • There might also be reddening of the skin being treated
  • The first 2 or 3 days after the peel, the skin might have a glow
  • Slowly, after the 4th day or so, the old, dead skin cells begin to flake and fall off.
  • Skin might appear dry
  • The glycolic peel removes the outer layer of dead cells. Your skin would be sensitive during this time. Never step out in the sun without a sunscreen and a moisturizer.

Who can opt for a glycolic peel?

Ideally, glycolic peel doesn’t have many side effects. Anyone can opt for a glycolic peel. But if you are under any specific medication, confirm with your dermatologist before you proceed. Glycolic peel might also not be recommended for people with kidney related disorders. They might go for other similar skin treatments under their doctor’s recommendation.

Glycolic peel mainly works on uneven skin tones, pigmentation, dullness and fine lines or wrinkles.

Caring for the skin after a glycolic peel:

  • When your skin starts to flake and peel, do not keep touching it. Do not try to peel off the flaky skin. This might scar your skin or lead to infections.
  • In most cases, the glycolic peel is much milder than the other chemical peels. If there is reddening or discomfort, try using a cold compress to relieve the distress. If it still continues or the irritation aggravates, check with your dermatologist.
  • Avoid stepping out in the sun. It takes about two weeks for the skin to completely recover after a glycolic peel. Dermatologists might recommend to not expose your treated skin to sunlight till it fully heals. Even if it is not a sunny day, use a sunscreen. Exposure to the sun can cause leave the treated skin with spots and reddening.
  • Two days after the peel, you could start cleansing your face twice daily. Use a mild cleanser free of harsh chemicals or irritants.
  • Moisturize your skin. The glycolic peel can leave your skin feeling dry when it starts peeling off. Use a moisturizer free of anti-acne or anti-aging chemicals.