Salicylic Acid: 8 Reasons why the best acne products have it


In the fight against acne, Salicylic acid is a major contender. This powerful ingredient attacks acne in multiple ways and even enhances the effectiveness of other acne-fighting ingredients. So, if you struggle with breakouts, especially ones that manifest in whiteheads and blackheads, check out the 8 reasons why Salicylic acid is a main ingredient in the most effective skincare products used to get rid of acne.

8. Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid – perfect for penetrating clogged pores

The molecular structure of Salicylic acid is small and lipophilic, or oil soluble, which makes it especially good at penetrating the skin and getting deep down into pores clogged with oil and skin debris.

7. Salicylic acid exfoliates

Salicylic acid is a great exfoliator. First, Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medicine, which breaks up keratin (the protein that structures the skin) and desmosomes (the “glue” that attaches the outer layer of skin cells together.) This effectively softens and sloughs away the thick, outer layer of skin that is old, dull, or scaly and prone to clog pores which leads to acne breakouts.

6. Salicylic acid offers a deep cleanse for your skin cells.

Once salicylic acid penetrates clogged pores, the mild acid can dissolve the skin debris that clogs pores and leads to breakouts. It does this by releasing a gentle acid that dissolves inter-cellular glue, breaking up the cells that line the skin inside the pore, effectively unclogging the pore and allowing for a deep cleaning of the skin.

Related article: Professional Acne Treatment for Body Acne

5. Salicylic Acid targets acne caused by inflammation

Salicylic acid is a widely recognized for treating inflammation. In fact, a form of salicylic acid is found in aspirin, providing the pain killer with its anti-inflammatory mechanism. These anti-inflammatory properties further equip salicylic acid to get rid of acne by reducing inflammation that leads to pimples and breakouts.

4. Salicylic acid is ideal for getting rid of blackheads and whiteheads

Acne can result from many causes, including overproduction of sebum (the oil that lubricates the skin but often gets trapped in pores,) dead skin cells that clog pores, and bacteria that causes acne. Acne from clogged pores usually manifests with whiteheads or black heads, and it is this type of acne Salicylic acid is especially good at treating. Salicylic acid helps get rid of whiteheads and blackheads by dissolving dead skin cells and clearing the skin of debris that often clogs pores. While Salicylic acid can also improve cystic acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is most effective at getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads.

3. Salicylic acid triggers cellular turnover

When salicylic acid unclogs pores and exfoliates dead skin cells, your body goes to work to replace those skin cells with a new, revitalized, healthy layer of skin. Not only does your body create new skin cells, it also triggers the production of collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its strength, flexibility, and tautness. The end result is a fresh, revitalized complexion that makes your skin look younger, healthier and more radiant. This also explains why professional facials, like a chemical peel, often use a salicylic formula.

2. Salicylic acid helps diminish redness caused by acne

Even when a pimple is gone, it is not always gone due to the inflamed, red mark that lingers in its place. Salicylic acid can help get rid of this redness. Salicylic acid is an effective anti-inflammatory. It also cleanses the pores and exfoliates the skin, triggering cellular turnover. All of these things help get rid of redness and restore an even skin tone.

1. Salicylic acid enhances the effects of other acne medications

Salicylic acid is a great ingredient found in skincare products for treating acne, especially when used in combination with other acne fighting medications. Salicylic acid makes other ingredients more effective by exfoliating dead skin cells that keep other ingredients from penetrating deep into the skin.

Getting started with Salicylic Acid

Here’s a great tip when using salicylic acid (or any new skincare medication.) Start slow. Eventually you can tap into the full acne-fighting potential of salicylic acid through daily application, but when first trying it, limit your use to every few days, just to ensure your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction.

When not to use salicylic acid for acne?

As with other acne fighting medications, like Accutane or Retinol, Salicylic acid should not be used in certain conditions. Steer clear of salicylic acid if you have an allergy to aspirin. Also, doctors recommend women who are pregnant or breast feeding avoid using salicylic acid. As with any medication keep it away from children, unless under the direction of a physician.

Lastly, because salicylic acid is so good at drying up sebum, people with chronically dry skin should not use salicylic acid.

For a great skincare product that targets acne and exfoliates skin using salicylic acid and other proven ingredients, check out SKINNEY Medspa’s Chemical Peel in a Bottle


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