A life saver of an ingredient for those with acne, oily or spot-prone skin, salicylic acid has some incredible benefits for skin, such as reducing inflammation, unclogging pores and exfoliating dead skin. 

Thinking of adding salicylic into your life? Here’s everything you need to know about this star skincare ingredient!

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, which is naturally found in willow bark, fruits and vegetables. It is a chemical exfoliant and is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate deeper into pores to unclog and exfoliate. 

What are the Benefits of Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid has a huge range of benefits for skin:

  • Exfoliation – it encourages cell turnover and sloughs off dead skin cells. This helps to improve skin texture and brightness.
  • Reduces oiliness – reduces and removes excess sebum and oiliness. In turn, this can make pores appear smaller. 
  • Stop breakouts – clearing pores helps to stop blackheads and whiteheads from returning. 
  • Reduces inflammation – anti-inflammatory properties relieve redness and soothes irritation.
  • Treats acne – clearing deeper in pores can help to prevent acne from forming. 

Who Should Use Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is best for those with oily skin types – it can be too drying or irritating for dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin types.

Salicylic can be brilliant for clearing up certain types of acne, but further treatment may still be required for cystic acne. 

How Often Should You Use Salicylic Acid?

This depends on your skin type and needs – in theory, you could safely use salicylic acid everyday in both your morning and evening routine. However, this could be too drying and irritating for some skin.

It is usually recommended to start by using salicylic a couple of times a week and then building up from there if your skin gets along with it. 

How to Use Salicylic Acid in Your Skincare Routine?

You can find salicylic acid in lots of different products, which can be incorporated into your routine. Using a facial cleanser that contains salicylic acid is one of the easiest ways of getting the pore cleansing and exfoliating benefits of this ingredient.

You’ll also find toners, serums and treatments with salicylic in. Simply use your chosen product at the relevant stage of your skincare routine. 

In addition to skincare, salicylic acid shampoo and hair treatments also exist, and can be great for treating oily hair and dandruff, as it clears dead skin and build-up from your scalp. 

AHA vs BHA: Why Choose Salicylic Acid? 

Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid), but another type of chemical exfoliant you may have heard of is AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). 

Examples of AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid. The biggest difference is that AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs are oil-soluble. As a BHA, salicylic acid can get deeper into pores and remove more excess sebum than an AHA could. AHAs focus more on smoothing the surface of the skin, rather than clearing out what’s underneath. 

Will you be adding salicylic acid into your skincare routine? We hope it helps you to get clear, healthy skin!