One of the main acne-fighting ingredients you can count on to help and clear up breakouts is salicylic acid. If you’re just now hearing about it, you could benefit from its more mild effect on the skin; where other astringent compounds might strip your skin of vital oils and protection, salicylic acid can be gentler while still having a helpful cleansing effect.
Let’s find out what salicylic acid does in professional-grade skincare products as well as if these cleansers are right for your skin type and concerns.
What is Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that has been approved by the FDA for use in skin care products both sold through dermatology practices and in beauty aisle products. It’s an exfoliant that is known for its ability to keep pores clean and clear as well as get rid of excess oil. We’ll talk more about the general benefits of the ingredient shortly, but it should be noted that this ingredient might not be right for everyone, as people with dry to normal skin types might not require this degree of cleansing and chemical exfoliation.
Benefits of Salicylic Acid
For people with oily skin, salicylic acid is often a perfect ingredient to achieve less oil production immediately and in the long run. Other benefits include:
- Exfoliates dead skin cells – If you’re struggling with chronic acne breakouts, excess oil might not be the only thing to blame. When your pores are clogged with numerous built up dead skin cells, one of the only ways to get rid of them is with a chemical exfoliant that sinks deep into pores. In these cases, salicylic acid can do just that.
- Keeps pores clean – Salicylic acid serves as a kind of barrier for your pores, preventing new dead skin cells from sticking to the microscopic walls inside your pores. This is similar to how harsher products that include benzoyl peroxide help even more extreme cases of acne and pore clogging.
- Creates an acne-unfriendly environment – The bacteria that causes acne thrives in environments devoid of oxygen – that’s why it takes root so quickly and substantially in clogged skin pores. By keeping these areas open to oxygen in the air, it’s harder for the bacteria to reproduce and maintain a long-term presence in your skin. That being said, this benefit doesn’t completely kill these bacteria, just makes it harder for breakouts to be severe.
Reduces the appearance of inflammation – Acne’s common result is red, inflamed skin regions that can look and feel annoying. As a close cousin to aspirin, salicylic acid contains anti-inflammatory compounds (salicin) that soothes inflammation and helps reduce areas of redness and irritation.
How to Use Products With Salicylic Acid
Fortunately, you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) use pure salicylic acid as part of your daily skincare routine. Instead, Epicuren Discovery’s cleansing products often include this proven ingredient in our most popular and well-loved products, like our Clarify Cleanser. This means it’s safe to use whenever you need a break from oily skin and as regular as you want to prevent breakouts.
Use Sparingly at First
Whenever starting a new product or step in your skincare regimen, it’s important to test it first to see if you have any abnormal reactions to any of the ingredients. Dilute our formulas with water or test them in an inconspicuous area before applying more liberally or frequently.
Apply to Entire Face
Once you’re sure that you’re not going to have a bad reaction to a salicylic acid product, make sure to apply it evenly across your entire complexion or wherever you get breakouts or oily skin. As we mentioned, salicylic acid both exfoliates and helps protect the skin, but if acne bacteria have a foothold on one part of the treated area, it can find a way to migrate to other places.
Less is More
Use the products as directed, which usually means only using a pea-sized amount of product with a damp or wet face for the best results. For example, our Clarify Blemish Eraser should not be used more than twice a day.
Don't Scrub Face
Our cleansing products aren’t the same as exfoliants, which even then shouldn’t be aggressively rubbed on or off. Gently apply salicylic acid with slow, circular motions, and rinse with lukewarm water once you’ve gotten to every area you need to apply it.
You should always include a moisturizer in your skincare routine, especially when using an exfoliating ingredient like salicylic acid. This and other cleansing ingredients can strip away the so-called “good oils” that protect your skin and keep it hydrated during the day. Both Clarify Cleanser and Clarify Blemish Eraser contain Aloe along with salicylic acid for a hydrating and tranquilizing experience. Apply a moisturizer that’s right for your skin type after using our salicylic acid products (and any others you might use during your routine).
Finally, whenever you are planning on going outside during the day (even if it’s cloudy), use sunscreen. This not only helps prevent the visible signs of aging from appearing prematurely, but also protects against your sensitive skin due to using salicylic acid regularly.
Skincare Products from Epicuren Discovery
If you want a spa-like experience every time you start or end your day, look no further than Epicuren Discovery’s products and luxurious aromas. We are an ever evolving skin care brand with a passion for combining nature and science in gentle yet effective formulations. Browse our entire catalog online or take our Skin Quiz to be matched with products that are perfect for your skin type and main skincare concern.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use salicylic acid face wash every day?
Yes, as long as the formula you’re using isn’t so potent that it becomes overly dry or irritated. Pairing cleansing products with high-quality moisturizers is typically the safest approach to keeping your skin balanced.
Is salicylic acid face wash good for acne?
Yes, salicylic acid tends to be a great option for people who can’t find a cleanser strong enough yet gentle enough to truly get rid of their breakouts.
Does salicylic acid brighten skin?
In chemical peels and strong solutions, salicylic acid has been known to “brighten” or make your skin tone more even.
How quickly does salicylic acid work?
Salicylic acid works immediately but doesn’t always show the best results right away. Some people take up to 6 weeks to start to experience a significant reduction in their breakouts or other concerns.