Let’s Talk About Salicylic Acid

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If hyaluronic acid is the hero ingredient for dry skin, think of salicylic acid as the hero ingredient for acne-prone skin. I have to deal with regular hormonal breakouts so incorporating products with salicylic acid into my skin care routine is a must!

Are inflammation, rough skin texture or clogged pores among your skin concerns? If your answer is yes, then it’s time you introduce salicylic acid into your skin care regimen. Let’s talk about what salicylic acid is, what its benefits are, and how you can add it to your daily skin care routine:

What is it? Salicylic acid is a type of BHA (beta hydroxy acid). BHAs are oil-soluble, so unlike AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores. 

What is salicylic acid good for? It’s a great skin care ingredient that heals active blemishes. Besides being a beneficial ingredient for acne-prone skin, salicylic acid provides you with a deeper exfoliation that helps get rid of trapped dirt clogging your pores. Salicylic acid also works well to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads, as well as excess sebum. As an anti-inflammatory ingredient, you can count on salicylic acid to treat those inflamed and angry-looking pimples!

Who should use it? All skin types can use salicylic acid in their skin care regimen but it’s best for acne-prone and oily skin. As salicylic acid can dry the skin out, people with dry or dehydrated skin should use it sparingly. The same goes for those with sensitive skin as this ingredient may also irritate the skin. To be safe, always do a patch test first. 

If you find that your skin doesn’t react well to salicylic acid, try using a product with a lower concentration of the ingredient, or only apply it on acne-prone areas instead of all over your face. 

Which salicylic acid-based product should I go for? If acne is your main concern, go for a facial cleanser with salicylic acid like the Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser from COSRX. This gentle cleanser is formulated with a combination of salicylic acid and tea tree oil to help combat blemishes, get rid of excess sebum, and buff away dead skin cells, blackheads and whiteheads. It also doesn’t dry the skin out, making it perfect even for those with dry skin!

Image: @minimalrutin

For occasional breakouts, try a spot treatment to tackle them quickly. TROIAREUKE’s ACSEN Recovery Cream is made for acne-prone and sensitive skin. With its formula consisting of Centella asiatica, calendula and portulaca extracts along with salicylic acid, you can expect your blemishes to heal faster and feel soothed at the same time. 

Image: @dan_choo_

For tighter-looking pores and a smoother complexion, you can’t go wrong with Benton’s Aloe BHA Skin Toner. This toner is formulated with aloe vera, snail filtrate, hyaluronic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid to treat inflamed skin while keeping it hydrated. It’s also the perfect toner for those aiming for blackhead-free skin! 

Image: @bentoncosmetic

Other skin care products with salicylic acid:

Bonajour | Purito | Isntree | Neogen

Mizon | COSRX | Some By Mi