Top 7 Benefits of Salicylic Acid for your skin

Salicylic Acid benefits

How many times have you searched for the solution to remove stubborn blackheads or revitalize your skin’s complexion? You might have come across a thousand skin care products having one common ingredient- Salicylic Acid. What exactly is Salicylic acid and why is it common in most of the skin care products. What are the benefits of salicylic acid? Is it really that effective? Well, let us find out.

QUICK FACTS:

Alternate Names: 2-hydroxybenzoic acid

Benefits: Exfoliator, also used as astringent

Best for: oily, combination, normal skin types

Addresses skin concerns:  acne breakouts, blackheads, whiteheads, hyperpigmentation, unclogs pores

Can use with: Moisturizer

Cannot use with: Retinols and retinoids

What is Salicylic Acid? How does it work?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) belonging to the salicylates class of drugs. It is an organic carbon-based compound derived from the bark of the willow tree. As it belongs to the beta-hydroxy acid family, the beta hydroxy part of the molecule is separated from the molecule’s acid portion by two carbon atoms, unlike an alpha hydroxy acid molecule where they both are separated by one carbon atom only.

The salicylic acid structure is important because it adds to the effectiveness of the acid. Due to this structure, salicylic acid is more oil-soluble and easily penetrates into pores of the skin. As soon as it penetrates into the skin pores, the intercellular connection binding the skin cells get dissolved by the acid portion of the molecule. Thus it is suitable for deep exfoliation of dead skin cells and easy removal of acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

It gets an upper edge than the alpha hydroxy acid as it can go deep into the pores of the skin due to its oil-soluble property whereas the alpha hydroxy acid only exfoliates the surface of the skin as it is water-soluble.

The medicinal use of salicylic acid for warts, calluses and other lesions is well known to dermatologists. Hence, it is also a keratolytic medication.

Benefits of Salicylic Acid for the skin

Now that you have understood the working of salicylic acid, let us explore its numerous benefits.

Exfoliates the skin

Many skin problems are caused due to the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. One of the astounding uses of salicylic acid is ineffectively exfoliating the skin. It penetrates into the skin and removes dead cells and unclogs pores. It also helps in getting rid of flaky skin, dirt, grime and bacteria that might have settled on the surface of the skin. Thus, exfoliation not only improves the appearance of your skin but also deep cleanse the layers. Hence salicylic acid is perfect for getting clear and pure skin.

Reduces oily skin

Oily skin interrupts the natural skin shedding cycle and also clogs the pores. It is a common culprit for acne, blemishes and many skin issues. Excess oil on the surface of the skin can trap dirt and bacteria which can cause redness and skin infections. Salicylic acid helps to remove excess oils from the skin and also decrease the sebum level by breaking these fatty compounds.

Helps in reducing acne breakouts

As you already know that salicylic acid breaks the intercellular connections binding the skin cells, this property helps to unclog the blocked pores, deep clean the skin and regulate sebum levels which reduces acne breakouts. It is quite effective in getting rid of blackheads and whiteheads particularly around the nose and other blackhead-prone areas. Thus it is a key ingredient in skincare products. If you want a clear, acne-free skin with no blackheads, then you must go for products like salicylic acid face-washes, cleansers, foundations, primers etc. 

Effective Astringent

In addition to its amazing benefits, Salicylic acid is a highly effective astringent that helps in tightening of the skin and makes the skin less oily. It decreases the probability of getting wrinkles and gives a younger looking smooth skin.

As a keratolytic

Salicylic acid is used as a medication to treat common skin and foot warts. Salicylic acid is quite beneficial for warts as it helps the wart to gradually peel off. It is also used to remove corns and calluses. Thus, salicylic acid is keratolytic. It is advised to use salicylic acid on warts after consulting a skin specialist. 

Reduces Blemishes

Salicylic acid reduces the appearance of blemishes and helps maintain an even skin tone. It also helps in reducing hyperpigmentation and discolouration on the skin. This is one of the remarkable benefits of salicylic acid.

Can help with dandruff

Experts say salicylic acid can also help with dandruff problems to some extent. It speeds up the desquamation process and also helps in conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis caused by slow pulling off of skin cells.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQ’s):

HOW DO YOU USE SALICYLIC ACID?

According to your skin type and its condition, your dermatologist may recommend a specific form as well as its dosage. Before using salicylic acid, check if you’re allergic to it. Apply a small amount to one or two small acne areas for two to three days. If you develop an allergic reaction, stop using it else you may continue. Salicylic acid is used on the skin for external use only. Avoid its contact with eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse it off with water right away if it does get on these areas.

According to your skin type and its condition, your dermatologist may recommend a specific form as well as its dosage. Before using salicylic acid, check if you’re allergic to it. Apply a small amount to one or two small acne areas for two to three days. If you develop an allergic reaction, stop using it else you may continue. Salicylic acid is used on the skin for external use only. Avoid its contact with eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse it off with water right away if it does get on these areas.

CAN SALICYLIC ACID BE USED FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?

Although salicylic acid has many benefits, it can have some adverse effects if not used properly. It is highly recommended for oily skin but not so much for dry skin.
– Oily: Highly recommended
– Normal: If you experience an acne breakout
– Dry: Not recommended
– Sensitive: Yes but with the consultation of a doctor
– Mature: Use a lower concentration
– Combination: Ideal

IS SALICYCLIC ACID SAFE TO USE DURING PREGNANCY?

Consult your doctor before using salicylic acid as a medication. It is for external use only when used as a skincare product. Get your allergic reactions checked immediately if you start developing any. For pregnant women, doctors recommend using products with only 2% of salicylic acid. They can safely apply these products once or twice a day. 

DOES SALICYLIC ACID HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?

Salicylic acid can serve many purposes but it does some have side effects. It sometimes removes excess oil leaving the skin dry and causing irritation. It can also cause allergic skin reactions if your skin is too sensitive or you use it in more than the recommended amount. 
Stop using it if you experience itching, redness of skin, hives or swelling of lips, throat, tongue or face.
Immediately contact your doctor if you experience a severe headache, ringing in your ear, stomach pain, shortness of breath, severe burning on the skin. 

CAN YOU USE SALICYLIC ACID WITH RETINOLS OR RETINOIDS?

Do not mix Salicylic Acid with Retinols and Retinoids. Doctors advise not to use your Salicylic acid products and retinols or retinoids on the same day as it can leave your skin too dry.

CAN YOU USE SALICYLIC ACID WITH SKIN BRRIGHTENING PRODUCTS?

Do not mix Salicylic Acid with Skin Brightening Products. Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin. If you use skin brightening products after it, these products might increase photosensitivity which may cause irritation and also darken the skin pigmentation.

DO YOU NEED TO USE MOISTURIZER AND SUNSCREEN WITH SALICYCLIC ACID?

Do use a Moisturizer and SPF with Salicylic Acid. To combat the drying effect caused by the salicylic acid, a moisturizer and sunscreen must be used on the skin.

SALICYLIC ACID VS. BENZOYL PEROXIDE: WHICH IS BETTER FOR ACNE?

Both are used as exfoliants to unclog pores and remove excess oil to prevent acne breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide dries your skin more than salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide can stain your clothes and hair, thus requires more precaution. Salicylic acid is milder than benzoyl peroxide. The salicylic acid formula makes it effective in removing blackheads and whiteheads whereas Benzoyl Peroxide works for mild pustules. 

More Stories
Candid Review: How does it work?