The subject of the different acids that are used to exfoliate the skin can be confusing and a little scary because of the word “acid” for all intense and purposes of all the products that are used in the office and for home use there are really only two that you need to know about Glycolic acid and Salicylic acid and when these products are used properly there is no downtime. That means no irritation, no redness, and no recovery. So effectively if there is no recovery there is no burning these acids are not burning your skin they are treating your skin. Both of them are equally effective to be used as exfoliators for all three different propose of facial exfoliation. For facial rejuvenation to make your skin look fresher and younger, to help in preventing acne, and it is also used to remove early abnormal dead cells that tend to go on to become precancerous or that already are cancerous.
The workhorse here is really glycolic acid, it is the one that you hear about being used in lunchtime peels and it has a very wide therapeutic margin. That means from strength of 3 to 4 percent to 70 percent that we use in the office, there is very little irritation and it does a great job exfoliating removing the dead cells and accomplishing what we want to accomplish.
On the other hand salicylic acid is a little more brittle; it has a narrower therapeutic range because it only becomes effective at about 1 ½ or 2 percent it tends to be a little irritating. However, salicylic acid is the old workhorse for the treatment of all types of acne.
The bottom line here is the two acids that we are using for facial rejuvenation and all sorts of other exfoliation are very safe when used as directed and should not be of any concern for you.