• #2-4. A Peeling Agent Effective for Acne Treatment


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    Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA)


    Beta hydroxy acids. Salicylic acids.


    The most widely used β-hydroxy acid is citric acid present in lemons and oranges, and it has antioxidant and antiaging effects. For reference, in many cases, citric acids are considered AHAs and salicylic acids (SAs) are considered BHAs. However, when considered in detail, citric acid corresponds to BHA and salicylic acid is not a BHA due to its benzene group.


    Let’s take a further look at salicylic acid effective for acne treatment. Salicylic acid is contained in willow bark, and it has been used as an anti-inflammatory medication for a very long time and its use dates back to 1,500 B.C. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) with an acetyl group in salicylic acid is what we know as aspirin.


    In 1992, Swinehart reported that 50% salicylic acid has an effect on pigmentation on hands and arms damaged by sunlight. Thanks to its weakening of dead skin cells and dissolving actions, it is effective for acne, pigmentation, lesions, fine wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It also has an effect on elasticity, texture and minimization of pores.


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    SA has an anti-inflammatory effect due to changing the chain reactions of arachidonic acid and reducing cytokines. It is also known to control bacterial replication and therefore has an antibacterial effect. The SA’s antibacterial action is effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, yeast fungus and fungus at 5% concentration. As such, the SA is very effective in acne treatment because it has keratolytics, comedolytics, anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial effects. The water soluble AHAs, on the other hand, do not have comedolytics effect.


    High concentrations of SA could cause toxicity symptoms (such as nausea, loss of sense of direction, tinnitus, etc.), so treatment of several areas at the same time must therefore be avoided. It is recommended to use primarily products with lower concentration of less than 20~30%.


    When using SA in clinical settings, the treatment must start with low concentration (3~5%) and then gradually increase (10~20%). Sunblock must be used after the treatment.


    -To be continued

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