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What Does Salicylic Acid Do For Acne

Side Effects Of Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid For Acne : How Does It Work? What Does It Do? Does It Work?

According to Mudgil, salicylic acid is best suited for those with oily skin and superficial acne. For those with dry, eczema-prone, or sensitive skin, the drying ingredient could be too harsh and lead to irritation.

Additionally, Marmur says salicylic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and cause sunburn easily. Although you should always protect your skin from the sun, it’s especially important when using salicylic acid to limit your sun exposure as much as possible and always use and reapply sunscreen.

What Does Salicylic Acid Do For The Skin

Salicylic acid can get deep into your skin to do its job. This quality is precisely what makes it such a potent ingredient for targeting acne especially for blackheads and whiteheads.

Once it penetrates the skin, salicylic acid “dissolves skin debris that clogs pores, as an anti-inflammatory, and also helps red, inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster,” explains Naissan O. Wesley, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles.

The ingredient can penetrate so deeply into skin that actually breaks down the connections between skin cells, according to Schueller and Dr. Wesley. “Once it has penetrated the skin, the acid part of the molecule can dissolve some of the intracellular ‘glue’ that holds skin cells together,” says Schueller.

What Type Of Pimples Does It Work Best On

Salicylic acid works best on individuals who suffer from clogged pores. Clogged pores cause black heads but also sometimes lead to an inflammatory response from the body, which causes redness, whiteheads, and cysts. By helping to unclog pores and keep pores from clogging in the first place, salicylic acid treats active acne and prevents new outbreaks.

Salicylic acid works best on blackheads and whiteheads but it does have some benefits is cysts as well. Cystic acne is often driven from internal sources such as hormones and genetic makeups so topical treatments are not always enough to treat this condition.

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Are There Downsides To Salicylic Acid

“Because salicylic acid has a low pH, it can be irritating to the skin,” explains Frey, noting that this is why concentrations above 2 percent aren’t offered commercially. “In patients with darker skin, that irritation can lead to hyperpigmentation.”

If you’re layering salicylic acid with other topicals like glycolic or retinoic acid, it can also leave your skin dry and irritated, so work with a dermatologist to create a targeted layering approach. Also: Salicylic acid can be absorbed by the skin, so it’s not recommended during pregnancy.

Best Salicylic Acid Products

Salicylic Acid For Treating Acne

Weve learned from our previous acne coverage that you need to be persistent with your skin care routine to see results and salicylic acid products are no different. You may notice some improvement in just a few days, but the most significant results will appear in about four weeks, noted Murphy-Rose.

To that end, salicylic acid skin care products are available at Shopping reader favorite retailers like Walmart, and . You can also find these anti-acne items at Target, Ulta and Dermstore. To help you sort through the seemingly infinite amount of face products infused with salicylic acid, we rounded up 10 expert-recommended items that range from cleansers and toners to spot treatments and serums.

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How Long Does It Take For Salicylic Acid To Work

Heres the not-so-great thing about salicylic acid: It takes a minute to see it work. Youll likely see results in four to six weeks, says Dr. Nazarian, after which you should continue to use it for long-term effects. That means you shouldnt expect any miracles overnightgood skin requires patience, yall. If you want to give salicylic acid a fair shot, stick with it for at least a month until you start thinking next steps. And as always, dont forget to chat with your derm about whats best for you and your skin .

Reasons Why Salicylic Acid Serum Is Important In Acne Management

If youre suffering from acne, you have a variety of options available to you to fight breakouts. One product for fighting acne which is frequently found and readily available is salicylic acid. Here are 10 Reasons Why Salicylic Acid Serum is important in Acne Management.

Salicylic acid is a potent ingredient with many benefits for the skin and maybe a significant influence on your appearance. To better comprehend the benefits of this ingredient, lets take a look at what salicylic acids can do and the way they can treat acne.

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Dosage Of Salicylic Acid

The majority of them are available in over-the-counter products, skincare products containing salicylic acid can be bought at a low cost. The amount of salicylic acid is something to consider. A majority of skincare products will contain anything from 1-2 per cent of salicylic acid, a key ingredient in skincare. Salicylic acid is commonly included in dermatologist-recommended facial cleansers, face washes, acne product creams, and toners. Apart from topical products salicylic acid is frequently used as a skincare ingredient in chemical peels. Particularly for treating acne, acne scars, age spots, melasma.

Your dermatologist or physician will suggest a type and dosage specific to your type of skin and skin condition. They may also suggest that for a period of 2 to 3 days, you apply only the amount you need to a small part of the affected skin to determine your reaction before applying it to the whole area.

Based on, adults should apply the use of a topical treatment to eliminate their acne, for example,

Product Form
Once per day

Are There Any Side Effects To Using Salicylic Acid

Does Salicylic Acid Work? / What Is It? | Dr Sam Bunting

Salicylic acid is generally considered safe to use, and is well-tolerated by most people with acne. However, there are several mild side effects such as:

  • Dryness
  • Stinging sensation
  • Allergic reaction

If used alongside other topical acne treatments, such as retinoids, this could result in excessive irritation.

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What Other Information Should I Know

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using topical salicylic acid.

If you are using prescription strength topical salicylic acid, do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about topical salicylic acid.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

What Form And Dosage Of Salicylic Acid Is Recommended For Acne

Your doctor or dermatologist will recommend a form and dosage specifically for your skin type and your skins current condition. They might also recommend that for 2 or 3 days, you only apply a limited amount to a small area of affected skin to test your reaction before applying to the entire area.

According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should use a topical product to clear their acne, such as:


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Recommended Benzoyl Peroxide Products

Salicylic acid comes in a variety of forms, including creams, lotions, washes, and gels. “My patients swear by Clean and Clean Continuous Control Acne Cleanser. It delivers the benzoyl peroxide deep into the pores where the ingredient is most needed, bypassing the sensitive parts of the skin that are prone to dryness and irritation. For spot treatment, there’s nothing better than Persa-Gel 10. As soon as you start to feel a pimple come up, dab a drop right on the lesion and don’t pick! As tempting as it is to try to squeeze or pick at the pimple, never touch it and your skin will thank you later. The gel will either prevent the pimple from coming up altogether, or the pimple that comes up will be half the size it would have been otherwise,” says Dr. Bowe.

How Does Salicylic Acid Work On Acne

What does salicylic acid do for acne?

Salicylic acid dissolves in fat. When applied to the skin, it penetrates deep into openings of the oil glands and breaks down fatty compoundssuch as the oily sebum and unclogs pores, resulting in deep skin cleaning.

Salicylic acid also has a mild exfoliating effect, increasing cell turnover and enhancing collagen production, ultimately providing a healthier glow to the skin. This exfoliation is achieved gently without damaging the protective layers of the skin or the risk of rupturing pores or breaking tiny blood vessels, which frequently occurs with physical exfoliating from scrubs of electric cleansing brushes. By removing melanin-containing dead skin cells from the skin’s upper surface, salicylic acid also helps fade post-acne dark spots gently over time.

Its ability to gently exfoliate the skin and clean the pores makes salicylic acid a perfect treatment for comedones and mild to moderate acne. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, which can help calm inflamed acne.

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Salicylic Acid Is Also An Exfoliant

This breaking down of skin cells promotes exfoliation. Salicylic acid is considered a keratolytic medication, which means that it’s perfect for supreme exfoliation. “Keratolytic medications cause softening and sloughing of the top layer of skin cells,” says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Salicylic acid also loosens and breaks apart desmosomes . “This ‘desmolytic’ action encourages exfoliation of skin and unclogging of pores,” says Sue Ann Wee, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

“One thought etiology of acne is that the skin cells do not behave normally, and rather than sloughing off through a healthy skin cell cycle, they stick together and clog the pores, creating cysts and blackheads,” says Dr. Nazarian. “Salicylic acid aids in removing and loosening these skin cells and helps to dissolve the blackheads.”

How Do Salicylic Acid Cleansers Work

Cleansers containing salicylic acid are the best option for people who have acne. The salicylic acid will work unclogging the pores and prepare the skin for acne treatment cream to better penetrate the skin. In contrast to harsher acne cleansers, a salicylic acid cleanser is mild, non-irritating, and suitable for even the most sensitive skin when used in the right concentration. For the best results, cleansers with salicylic acid should be massaged gently into the entire face , creating a nice lather for around 20-seconds, then rinsed off with tepid water.

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Kiehl’s Skincare Expert Answers

You wear your skin everyday – treat it well. Kiehl’s Canada knows how important a proper, clean skincare routine is, which is why all of our Salicylic Acid products are recommended by the experts. Dark spots are a prominent insecurity for most. Salicylic Acid exfoliates your skin, and by encouraging and reinforcing the growth of new skin cells, dark spots are reduced. Explore Kiehl’s range of Salicylic Acid skincare products to help target and correct dark spots on your skin.

Vitamin C Serum to Correct Dark Spots and Brighten Skin

Is Salicylic Acid Safe To Use During Pregnancy


Many studies have been published in which researchers have examined the outcomes of women who had taken low-dose oral acetylsalicylic acid during pregnancy. The results? There was no increase in the baseline risk of adverse events . That being said, no major studies have been conducted examining the topical use of salicylic acid in pregnant women. However, as such a small proportion of salicylic acid is absorbed through the skin, it is unlikely to pose any risk to a developing baby. Read more about a study on the safety of skincare products during pregnancy here.

To find the right acne treatments for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by .

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Is Salicylic Acid The Answer To All Your Acne Problems

A dermatologist weighs in.

Salicylic acid might just be the magic potion your skin routine needs to fight pimples. It’s the acid most commonly found in overnight, get-rid-of-pimples-quick products, as well as a number of exfoliators. But before you try acid, even at a very low, very safe dose, it’s best to know what exactly you’re putting in your pores. Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology broke down everything there is to know about the acne fighting product. Can salicylic acid work on blackheads and whiteheads? Does it also fight dandruff? Read on and shop seven derm-approved products below.

Evaluating Your Skin Care Routine

The first thing Dr. Flood usually does when seeing a patient for acne is to discuss your current skin care routine. Its possible that youre using the wrong products on your face, which can worsen your acne. In general, you want to avoid using any products that add extra oil to your face.

If youre already using treatments that contain salicylic acid but just arent seeing the results youre looking for, you may need to try a stronger formulation or to use different products. Instead of using a cleanser with salicylic acid, for example, you may need to use a prescription-strength topical gel.

If you have acne and arent seeing the relief you want, its time to make an appointment with a professional. Contact Allen A. Flood, MD, at his Capitol Hill office by phone or request an appointment online.

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Is Salicylic Acid Effective Against Acne

Due to its exfoliating properties, salicylic acid is an ideal treatment and preventative against acne. However, while it does offer some benefit for inflammatory acne, it is more effective against noninflammatory 02999-9/fulltext#relatedArticles” rel=”nofollow”> comedonal) acne.

Comedonal acne manifests as blackheads and whiteheads, plugs of debris that block skin follicles. Papules, pustules and cysts are indicative of inflammatory acne, and are a result of a proliferation of the Cutibacterium acnes Gram-positive bacteria.

While salicylic acid does have antibacterial benefits, it has a greater impact on Gram-negative bacteria. However, salicylic acid can be combined with an antibacterial medication such as benzoyl peroxide to combine the strengths of each for an effective acne-fighting strategy.

Salicylic acid also has antimicrobial properties which does have a moderate degree of efficacy against a range of bacteria, including C. acnes.

Clinical studies have confirmed that salicylic acid does effectively treat acne when used alone and as part of combination therapy. It reduces redness and inflammation and helps dry up and heal pimples.

A study review of four clinical studies found 0.5% and 2% solutions of salicylic acid reduced the number and severity of acne lesions. Another eight-week study examined the efficacy of a 2% salicylic acid cleanser and found a significant reduction in acne lesions.

The Truth About Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid For Treating Acne

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient used in many acne treatments. Research shows that its more effective than a placebo, meaning that it actually works to treat acne.

The way it works is by unclogging your pores and destroying the acne-causing sebum inside of them. Salicylic acid also works to minimize inflammation, the factor that makes your acne look so red. This means that it attacks acne at the root, working to dissolve whats causing it.

Over-the-counter products typically have only small percentages of salicylic acid in them, usually less than 1%. Dermatologist-grade products can have much higher percentages. However, its always a good idea to do a patch test to make sure your skin can tolerate it. In some individuals, allergic reactions to salicylic acid can occur.

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Salicylic Acid Works Best On Blackheads And Whiteheads

Schueller says there are three factors that contribute to acne: an abnormal sloughing off of skin cells, excessive oiliness, and the action of P. acnes bacteria. “Salicylic acid helps with the first cause by dissolving the type of skin debris that clogs pores and causes acne,” he says.

Therefore, salicylic acid is ideal for treating blackheads and whiteheads. “Salicylic acid can directly dissolve the keratin plugs and regulate the skin cells,” says Dr. Nazarian. “It does have some effectiveness against cystic acne due to its antibacterial activity, but less so than the classic blackheads and whiteheads.”

When To Seek Help

Stop using salicylic acid products and get emergency medical help if you have signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you’re having side effects that are particularly bothersome. And if you’re using a prescription acne medication, always ask your dermatologist first before adding a salicylic acid product to your daily routine.

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How To Use It

The recommended concentration of a salicylic acid product varies from person to person and should be discussed with your dermatologist, and the same applies to how often you use a salicylic acid treatment. In general, Marmur says to use salicylic acid in moderation until you know your skin can tolerate it. Start off applying it every few days, and take note of how your skin reacts after each application. “The key is to listen to your skin,” Mudgil advises. “If it’s getting irritated, you’ll need to take a day or two off and perhaps be a bit more vigilant with moisturizing.” As far as the amount used, Marmur stresses the importance of following the direction of your doctor. “Dont do more or less, and dont use it for longer than recommended,” Marmur says. “Apply just enough salicylic acid to cover the affected area and rub it into the skin gently.”

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