What is salicylic acid?

What is salicylic acid?
What is salicylic acid?

Throughout blogs and acne forums the words salicylic acid punctuates posts with enormous frequency. Salicylic acid is about as popular as a skincare ingredient can get, and has a reputation as the frontrunner in managing blemish-prone skin. Hailed by dermatologists and bloggers alike, salicylic acid is supposedly a one stop shop for all your blemish bothers. So how true are these claims, are there any side effects to treatment, and does salicylic acid deserve its elevated stature in the skincare world.

What makes salicylic acid so effective at reducing blemishes and breakouts?

Fundamentally the acid breaks up cells which stick together, which promotes healthy clear skin and gets rid of blackheads, whiteheads and other blemishes. The reason salicylic acid is so powerful is because it can penetrate deep into the pore lining, meaning it is able to exfoliate inside the pore as well as the surface of the skin. Salicylic acid’s anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory qualities make it an effective ingredient at soothing skin and redness, as well as calming angry spots and complexions. So in essence it treats all blemish concerns in one.

What are the side effects of using salicylic acid?

Believe it or not, salicylic acid is as good as it sounds. There are very few cases, if any, of severe reactions to the ingredient. If you do have a serious reaction to salicylic acid the likelihood is it is an allergic reaction and you should seek medical advice immediately.

What is more likely to happen is that upon first application you will experience some stinging and perhaps peeling, dry, and reddened skin. This is all completely normal, although you may want to reduce treatment during this period while skin adjusts.

Those with sensitive skin may be concerned that due to the peeling and drying that often occurs at the start of treatment, salicylic acid is not for them. This however is not the case, it is actually safe to use on sensitive skin and even has anti-inflammatory properties which make it beneficial. It exfoliates and soothes at the same time, making it ideal in many ways for those with sensitive skin. Just like those with normal skin types, those with sensitive skin can simply decrease the amount of salicylic acid they are using to begin with.

So for those with a spot of bother, salicylic acid is one of the best blemish busters out there!

This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.