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Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015 Aug 26;8:455-61. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S84765. eCollection 2015.

Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review.

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1
Postgraduate Department of Dermatology, STD and Leprosy, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Abstract

Salicylic acid has been used to treat various skin disorders for more than 2,000 years. The ability of salicylic acid to exfoliate the stratum corneum makes it a good agent for peeling. In particular, the comedolytic property of salicylic acid makes it a useful peeling agent for patients with acne. Once considered as a keratolytic agent, the role of salicylic acid as a desmolytic agent, because of its ability to disrupt cellular junctions rather than breaking or lysing intercellular keratin filaments, is now recognized and is discussed here. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent has a number of indications, including acne vulgaris, melasma, photodamage, freckles, and lentigines. The efficacy and safety of salicylic acid peeling in Fitzpatrick skin types I-III as well as in skin types V and VI have been well documented in the literature. This paper reviews the available data and literature on salicylic acid as a peeling agent and its possible indications. Its properties, efficacy and safety, the peeling procedure, and possible side effects are discussed in detail. An account of salicylism is also included.

KEYWORDS:

acne vulgaris; desmolytic agent; melasma; photodamage; salicylic acid

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