How salicylic acid can help banish your blemishes

How salicylic acid can help banish your blemishes

15 July 2016

How salicylic acid can help banish your blemishes

Salicylic acid is often dubbed the ‘ultimate acne saviour’ by skincare experts. Sound good? We’ll take a look at exactly how it works.

  • What is salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is known as a beta hydroxy acid. Its molecular structure makes it oil soluble, allowing it to penetrate deep into the pores of your skin.

  • So how does it work?

After it has penetrated your skin, the acid gets to work on dissolving the ‘glue’ that holds all of your skin cells together. This exfoliates your skin, helping to unclog your pores for a deep cleanse that leaves your skin looking smooth, clear and refreshed. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties, helping to soothe and calm inflamed skin.

  • Can it prevent acne?

Yes! Cleansing your skin with a product containing salicylic acid helps to reduce sebum secretion. The less sebum your sebaceous glands produce, the less likely you are to develop acne spots.

  • Does it matter what type of acne I have?

In a way, yes. Salicylic acid works best on those with pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. That’s because it helps to tackle each at the root cause: exfoliating your skin cells, reducing sebum production and secretion, and calming the skin. While it can be effective against cystic acne to a point (due to its antibacterial properties), it is less so than for the more common whiteheads and blackheads.

  • Does it matter if I have dry skin?

Those with dry and sensitive skin, pregnant women, or patients on certain medications should not use salicylic acid. It can be very drying, so experts recommend using it in tiny amounts to avoid redness and irritation. If you’re taking blood thinners, avoid using salicylic acid.

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Image credit: Studio 52/