Which Peel is Better Salicylic or Glycolic Peel for over All Improvement of Face?

to treat un even skin tone, spot correction, tan and over all improvement of complexion?

Doctor Answers 4

Salicylic acid or glycolic peel for face?

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There are many different types of chemical peels (and laser peels) that can be done to improve the appearance of the face.  Glycolic peels and salicylic acid peels are two of the lighter types of peels that can be done, but both come in different strengths, and depending on how they are applied, can go to different depths in the skin.  One is not necessarily better than the other.  You would really need to see a professional in person to have your skin evaluated and determine what your options might be.  

San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Chemical Peeling To Improve Tone, Discoloration and General Complexion

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There are many different types and strengths of chemical peels which are used to improve acne, discoloration, texture, tone, sun damage, scarring, skin cancers, wrinkling and severe aging.  The choice of a particular peel and strength really depends on the problem(s) being targeted, the skin type of the individual and the ability to have or not have downtime.  It is sometimes difficult to say one type of peel is better than another. That being said, I feel glycolic acid peels are better for improving skin tone, complexion and discoloration (spot correction).  Most importantly, consult with a board-certified dermatologist experienced in chemical peeling. I do all chemical peeling myself in my practice as I have seen too much permanent damage done when peels have been performed by non-physicians. 



Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Salicylic acid v. glycolic acid peels

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It's tough to say whether salicylic acid peels are better than glycolic acid peels in general.  The choice of a peel will depend on what one is treating, skin type, and how much downtime one can tolerate.  Some studies suggest that salicylic acid peels are better for acne as salicylic acid targets the hair follicles where acne starts, however glycolic acid also works very well.  Make sure whoever does your peel knows how to select the right peel for you and your skin type and how to avoid and manage complications. 

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Chemical peels for hyperpigmentation

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Both salicylic and glycolic are used to lighten the skin and pigmentation marks via the aggressive increase of skin proliferation, turnover and exfoliation of the surface. Citric acid is sometimes added to the formula to lighten the skin as well. All peels have the goal of improving the overall appearance of the skin, the trick is finding the safest one for you. The results will depend on the strength of the peel. One of the advantages of having your chemical peel done in a medical clinic is that the choices of peels are not limited to the mildest formulations. Also, your medical esthetician or nurse will choose the safest and most effective peel for your skin type. I recommend having a consultation with a reputed medical esthetician or nurse to discuss your skin care goals. This will be your first step towards beautiful skin. Good luck!

Arie Benchetrit, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.