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salicylic acidWhat is salicylic acid and how does it work on the skin? Most people hearing the word “acid” are apt to be afraid to use it, but this active ingredient is beneficial for the skin.

Salicylic acid has antibacterial properties that helps to control P. acnes bacteria in the skin. It helps to break the bonds of dead surface calls on the skin that build up which exacerbates acne (especially in darker skin tones). Dead surface cells are held together by an intracellular glue and salicylic acid helps to break the bonds of the glue to help the skin naturally exfoliate. This exfoliation allows the skin to breathe and get essential oxygen into the pores to fight acne bacteria. Salicylic acid also helps to control oil production, unclog pores, reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

Salicylic acid can cause irritation in some individuals initially and should not be used with harsh soaps, scrubs or exfoliating masks because it may overstimulate the skin causing excessive peeling and dryness. Follow the skin care regime established by your skin care therapist and follow-up with them if adjustments need to be made.

Products that may contain salicylic acid are: cleansers, masks, spot treatments, cleansing pads and chemical peels. Over-the-counter treatments may have a concentration of 0.5% – 2.0% of salicylic acid which is safe for at-home use. Percentages of 2% and higher can be found in products at skin care centers and dermatology offices (will give better results, but can also be more sensitizing).

Safety Precautions

Salicylic acid is derived from aspirin so if you have sensitivity to aspirin, this product is not for you.  Women who are nursing should avoid using products with this ingredient and salicylic acid should not be used on children two and younger.

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Oliver, Dana. (2014). Huffington Post, “What the heck is salicylic acid and why is it in your skin care?” Retrieved October 6, 2014 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/salicylic-acid-skincare_n_5919712.html?ir=Style&utm_campaign=100414&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-style&utm_content=Title