Salicylic acid is a member of the group of chemical exfoliants known as Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) derived from willow bark you’ll find this potent powerhouse formulated into acne targeting skincare products.
It’s an oil soluble ingredient meaning it can penetrate down into the lower layers of the dermis and work at unclogging the pores of dirt, bacteria, and build-up of excess sebum that when left untreated will develop into blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes.
It also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties resulting in it help to reduce and calm any existing breakouts and inflammations, whilst preventing any new ones from forming.
If you are wanting to know a little more details about salicylic acid and how it works on the skin, check out our dedicated blog post.
Is it bad to use salicylic acid every day?
Not really, but only if you use it correctly in your routine and avoid teaming it with other potent formulations that can cause the skin to become overly dried and irritated. To avoid overdoing it with salicylic acid, it is recommended to introduce salicylic acid slowly to your routine to begin with. Try applying it every other day and keep an eye on how your skin reacts to this, once the tolerance is built you can use it more frequently, especially if you have a skin type that is oily and prone to acne.
When using salicylic acid daily you should consider the product formula you apply to the skin. What I mean by this is using a toner or face wash enriched with salicylic acid are rinsed off the skin resulting in them not causing too much irritation, this is the best way of using the BHA twice a day with little to no concerns with negative side effects. If you are wanting to pack a bit more of a punch you can use a serum containing salicylic acid will remain on the skin for a longer amount of time, ideally in the evenings so it can set to work whilst you catch up on your well-deserved beauty sleep.
If you have a skin type that is more sensitive, or suffers from certain skin conditions such as rosacea, you’re pregnant, or on specific mediations it is best to avoid using salicylic acid all together. You may be able to introduce other chemical exfoliants, such as lactic acid or other types of poly hydroxy acids (PHA) once you have checked with a doctor or dermatologist that you are safe to do so.
Why shouldn’t you use salicylic acid?
You shouldn’t use salicylic acid if you have a skin type that is dry and prone to sensitivity. Although the BHA is generally considered safe to use, it can be too potent for certain skins and will often result in several side effects, from discomfort, dry patches of skin, redness, flaky patches of skin, and irritation. You will also find that the salicylic acid when used in excess can strip the skin of the vital oil. It needs this to remain comfortable and the skin barrier functioning properly to protect itself from exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, UV rays, and other environmental aggressors.
Before applying any type of product containing salicylic acid, you need to perform a patch test for 24 hours before, especially if it is the first time you are introducing the acid into your routine.
What does salicylic acid do to your skin?
There are many benefits provided by salicylic acid that is delivers on the skin, here are some of the main ones experienced by those who introduce the potent powerhouse to their daily routine.
- Salicylic acid is oil soluble and can penetrate deep into the lower layers of the skin, into the pores to clear them out of bacteria, dirt, and excess sebum.
- Salicylic acid can slough away the build-up of dead skin cells revealing new, vibrant skin underneath.
- Salicylic acid contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties helping to maintain a calm, soothed skin.
- Salicylic acid is able to regulate the production of sebum in the skin keeping it balanced and healthy.
- Salicylic acid can work on the outer surface of the skin combating active spots, helping to reduce their size whilst preventing anymore from developing.
There you have some examples of what salicylic acid does for the skin. There is more about how the BHA works on the skin over on our Skin School page, check it out to find out more.
Is salicylic acid a good toner?
Absolutely! In fact, toners are considered the most popular and effective formula that many skincare fans prefer to use. By using a toner you’ll find that the skin will reap the rewards of the various benefits salicylic acid is able to delivery to the skin without the worry of stripping it of vital oils and water. To avoid any signs of irritation or dryness you can also follow your salicylic acid toner with a serum packed with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Does salicylic acid remove blackheads?
Yes, it certainly does, combating blackheads is one of the many blemish battling benefits salicylic acid is able to deliver. Because the BHA can work its way into the lower layers of the skin it can reach the root of the problem regarding blackheads, and that is clogged pores. A build-up of bacteria, dirt, excess sebum, and other impurities that can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, spots, and flare-up in acne too.
We go into a lot more detail about using salicylic acid to treat blackheads, so check out our dedicated blog post to find out more.
Should I use salicylic acid in the morning or night?
You can use salicylic acid twice a day if you have built a tolerance for the potent BHA. By using it in your morning routine you’ll find it is able to rid the skin of any barrier caused by the layer of dead skin cells ensuring it is able to absorb other products applied on top. For the evening, you will slough away any impurities, bacteria, and debris you picked up during the day resulting in a fully cleansed skin.
There you have a little more information and with any luck I have answered the question, is salicylic acid good? Don’t forget to join us over on Instagram for daily skin tips, product launches, and exclusive discounts.