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Salicylic Acid: The Complete Comprehensive Guide

Salicylic Acid: The Complete Comprehensive Guide

Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid that works by cleaning bacteria and dead skin cells from your pores. You can get it in both over-the-counter (OTC) products as well as prescription formulations. It is most effective in treating acne, melasma and psoriasis as well as oily skin. We understand how overwhelming it can be to try out the million new products that are out there. Worry not, because here is the complete guide on the benefits of salicylic acid, and how to incorporate it into your skincare regime.

How does it work? Salicylic acid penetrates into your skin and works to dissolve the dead skin cells clogging your pores. It can take several weeks of use for you to see its full effect. However, it can have some side-effects, especially on sensitive skin so keep in mind the following tips before embarking on your salicylic acid journey.

Tips For Trying Salicylic

Patch testing

Before you apply it all over your face, you should spot test your salicylic acid product on a small patch of your skin. Try it on your arm to ensure you won’t have an allergic reaction. Prep your skin for this acid by cleansing and then drying it. If you don’t experience any tingling, redness, or dryness within 24 hours you have the go-ahead to use it.

Start Slow

Start using salicylic in moderation, beginning by applying it three times a week and working up from there. Keep in mind that because it can cause dryness it is best coupled with a more moisturising product.


Bye bye Retinol

While both are useful and strong in their own right, they should’t be combined. Retinol is a powerful anti-aging skincare ingredient and the benefits of salicylic have already been discussed. However, when used together, the effect can be too harsh on the skin, and can cause burns or scarring.

Spot Treatment

It is important to use it as a spot treatment for pimples and blemishes instead of the entire face, which can leave your skin all dried out. Target your blemishes and let the acid work its magic.

Concentration Station

While picking which product to use, be mindful that you’re not using a product that has too high of a concentration of SA. Gels should have no more than 5% acid. Lotions that are applied once or twice a day should have 1–2% salicylic acid, while cleansers or toners should have 0.5–2% salicylic acid. Try out a SA cleanser from here.

Although everyone has different bodies, and there is no one stop treatment for all, salicylic acid can be helpful in combating stubborn acne and blemishes. This article is informative in nature and does not aim to replace professional medical advice, so maybe give your dermat a ring before you try it out if you have sensitive skin!

Featured Image: Pexels

24 May 2022

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