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Beauty / Ilana Leonard

Salicylic Acid: What It Is And Why You Want It

Salicylic acid, also known as 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, is a skincare superhero when it comes to oily, blemish-prone skin. As an on-the-spot treatment, it can help blemishes to heal faster and when used daily, as part of your cleansing routine, it can reduce the appearance of blackheads.

What exactly is salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) with the chemical formula C₇H₆O₃, which is used in skincare formulations for its exfoliating and deep-cleansing actions. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can diminish redness and calm irritation. Salicylic acid is found naturally in the bark of willow trees, but it can be produced synthetically by biosynthesis of the amino acid, phenylalanine.

What does salicylic acid do to skin?

The acid breaks down the bonds that keep dead cells clinging together, which can clog pores and lead to blemishes forming. Salicylic acid exfoliates the inside wall of the pore, along with the outer layer of skin, to reveal a cleaner, brighter-looking complexion. As the acid can penetrate deeply into pores, it’s highly effective in the treatment of blackheads and whiteheads. Pores look larger when they are clogged with oil and dirt – by removing all the gunk, pores can appear smaller. Regular exfoliation also encourages natural skin cell turnover.

Balance Me Pure Skin Face WashHow do you use salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid can be prescribed by a doctor for topical application to treat acne, but it is also available in the form of cleansers, face scrubs, masks and face creams. A 2% solution is the highest concentration that is safe for skin and can cause a tingling feeling when first used. But, even just including a minuscule amount into your beauty routine can have noticeable effects. We recommend starting with a natural face wash like Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash.

Who is salicylic acid for?

Salicylic acid is not just for those with oily and spot-prone skin. Whilst it is ideal for teenage skin and PMS breakouts, it’s also a great ingredient for those with dry or combination skin that suffers from blackheads. City-dwellers will benefit from a daily face wash containing salicylic acid, to unblock pollution-ridden pores and it’s also great for dry skin that can get congested in winter due to central heating and dry air.

What are the best products with salicylic acid in?

A daily cleanser or a weekly face mask with salicylic acid in will keep your complexion at its most flawless. Peel pads are an innovative way to exfoliate, too. Another product to look out for is decongesting serum that features the ingredient.

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