When Do I Start to Peel After a Dermatolgist Office Administered Mild Salicylic Acid Peel?

Hi, I received a mild salicylic acid peel 24 hours ago. I do not feel any tightness and my skin has not started to flake yet. When will it start to flake and for how long? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 6

Salicylic acid to peel skin

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Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid and works well for patients with oily and/or acne-prone skin.  Most patients begin to peel around 48 hours after the treatment.  Depending on the strength of acid used, it can vary from mild flaking to more aggressive peeling.  Most patients peel for approximately 5-7 days.

East Brunswick Plastic Surgeon

Peel at 24-36 Hours

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You should start to have flaking within about 24 to 39 hours post salicylic peel.  The flaking can last up for 7-10 days depending on the strength of the peel.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

When does the peeling begin after a salicylic acid peel?

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In my experience people tend to peel 1-3 days after a salicylic acid peel. It may not be dramatic as this is a light peel. The skin might just feel tight and dry.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Peeling post sal peel

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Often times when I use mild salicylic on patients they will only flake, starting a couple of days post peel, and lasting only a couple of days.  It depends on what I am trying to accomplish with the skin.  If I am working with an acne patient then I want to see them more frequently and therefore will not apply a heavy dose of sal.  If I am just trying to control oil or prevent breakouts I will do the same because a lot of my patients do not want any downtime.  Your skin type will also play a factor in how a treatment is performed.  The darker the skin the more careful you have to be with chemical peels so maybe your Dr wanted to do a more mild peel to begin with.   I have great results with my mild treatments so don't be worried if you do not peel like a snake.  If you wanted a stronger treatment then I would talk to your Dr and make certain your expectations are on par with his/hers. 

Joseph Serota, MD
Aurora Plastic Surgeon

Peeling after salicylic acid peel

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When you peel after a salicylic acid peel depends on how oily your skin is, how your skin is prepared, and the strength and type of salicylic acid used (All salicylic acid is not created equal).  As a partner in Theraplex, which manufactures salicylic acid peels, I have a vested interest in this topic.

when we treat people in our office, we prepare the skin with acetone and alcohol and we make sure that there is no makeup or oil to block the salicylic acid from working.

if you use a 30% sal acid peel, you can expect to see peeling in a day or two. Lighter peels may not produce visible peeling but the skin will still exfoliate.

Kenneth Beer, MD
Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

When Do I Start to Peel After a Dermatolgist Office Administered Mild Salicylic Acid Peel?

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You would typically expect to see some degree of peeling around the 3rd-4th day and this may last around 8-9 days total...assuming it was a strong enough peel.  If you see no peeling at all in that time frame then the concentration may be too low and you may not see any effects at all.  1 day, though, is not enough time for a true peeling agent to work its magic.  So just be patient for now.  But if at the end of a week...you're really not seeing any results then revisit with your treating physician or seek a second opinion on your options.  Cheers!  Dr. Shep

Shepherd G. Pryor, MD
Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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.