The term “acid” conjures up images of test tubes bubbling and fears of frightening chemical burns. When used correctly, acid can be one helpful component in skincare products. They’re the tools of the gods to combat wrinkles, acne and age spots, scarring, and uneven skin color. Today, let’s examine one acid that’s been a favorite of oily skin for quite a long time: Salicylic Acid.
What Is Salicylic Acid
Salicylic Acid is a BHA or Beta Hydroxy Acid derived from willow bark. It is used extensively to cleanse the skin and clean pores and help combat acne. In reality, we’re going to bet you suffer from oily skin or you have had acne at one point in time, and you’ve likely used an item that contains Salicylic Acid to address the problem.
In contrast to AHAs and Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Salicylic Acid is oil-soluble, which means that it penetrates pores more readily and thoroughly than its AHA equivalents.
While prescription-strength formulations can have a dosage as high as 30%, most formulations available to us fall between the ranges of 0.5 to 2% Salicylic Acid Serum. This is because SA is a highly potent ingredient, so unless you’re experiencing severe acne issues, you don’t necessarily need to exceed the limit of 2% Salicylic Acid Serum. If you are new to Salicylic Acid, it is best to start with the lowest amount and slowly increase tolerance.
Benefits of Salicylic Acid
Cleans Excess Oil
If you’re experiencing acne-prone skin, salicylic acid can be the essential ingredient for cleaning off excess oil and decreasing oil levels in the future. Salicylic acid can be described as oil-soluble, which means it cleanses your pores and reduces oil build-up. Because it can penetrate, excess dirt and dead skin within your pores, it is superior to other ingredients that scrape what they can from the surface inside your pores. Salicylic acid does not only provide deep cleansing. However, it also blocks sebocytes (sebocytes are cells that create your skin’s sebum/natural oils) to stop them from producing excessive oil.
Salicylic acid is an effective comedolytic (A drug or product which blocks the creation of comedones) that stops future blackheads and whiteheads from developing by keeping pores clear so that blackheads and whiteheads don’t result from excessive oils or skin cell debris accumulated on the skin. If you’re wondering, azelaic acid and benzoyl peroxide are also known as comedolytics.
Weakens Acne Bacteria
Acne bacteria are not a fan of oxygen (the reason it thrives under pores that are clogged in which no fresh air is blowing). Since salicylic acid cleanses pores, fresh air flows in the skin, creating an oxygen-rich atmosphere that’s less favorable to acne-causing bacteria. It’s essential to keep in mind that, although salicylic acid can reduce acne-causing bacteria, it does not end it altogether.
Exfoliates Dead Skin Cells
Salicylic acid can be described as an exfoliating agent which exfoliates dead skin cells and speeds up cell renewal in the skin. Salicylic acid is a desmolytic, which breaks the carbon-to-carbon bonds between the corneocytes (the cells that comprise the skin’s outer layer). Keratolytics provide deeper exfoliation. However, they can be irritating to skin that is sensitive. This ingredient in the serum is comedolytic, which means it clear pores and stops future blackheads or whiteheads from appearing.
Salicylic acid is naturally present in willow bark and is a salicin. Like aspirin, salicin is anti-inflammatory and helps soothe the skin that is inflamed and irritated. Concerning acne, this is reduced redness, soreness, and the appearance of puffiness. Furthermore, salicylic acid is commonly used as a topical treatment for inflammation of psoriasis.
Who can use Salicylic Acid?
If you suffer from oily skin and want an exfoliant with chemical ingredients or to treat your whiteheads or blackheads, it’s not as good as Salicylic Acid. Due to its ability to dry your skin, Salicylic Acid is probably not the right option for those with sensitive or dry skin. If blackheads and acne are your primary concern and you are suffering from oily or combination skin, try Salicylic Acid a shot. If you are younger than 2 years, using this ingredient is not advised. It is essential to be aware that the primary use of Salicylic Acid is specifically to treat acne and other issues.
What to Be Careful About?
For any active ingredients there are a few aspects you need to think about prior to making use of it:
1. Mixing with other facial acids
2. Do not over use it
3. Not for pregnant women’s
4. Sensitivity to sunlight
5. If you have dry skin, avoid using it.
Can salicylic acid damage skin?
It’s possible to be using too many quantities of salicylic acid. The most significant negative adverse effect of salicylic acid is the ability to dry and irritate the skin of extremely sensitive skin those who use too much of it. Depending on the concentration and the number of applications, some people may experience dryness, peeling, redness, and some skin irritation.
This is why those with skin that is already sensitive or dry should think about abstaining from SA completely, and this isn’t the ideal option for pregnant women or taking certain medicines like blood thinners. But the concentration of salicylic acid in most over-the-counter cleansers and creams, typically 2% salicylic acid serum, remains very low.
If used appropriately, it can be tolerated quite well, When beginning the use of a salicylic acid-based new product, the dermatologists recommends that patients start slow, using the product a couple of times a day and then work toward daily usage when they are aware of what their skin’s reaction is with the substance. Don’t apply a thick layer of it all over your body, be sure to stick to the areas with acne-prone skin.
How Long Does It Take To See Results? It depends on the skin, as well as the product you’re using. On average, it can take between 3-4 weeks to notice any changes to your skin.
Salicylic Acid is an oil-soluble exfoliating acid. It’s a BHA or beta hydroxy Acid beneficial on oily skin with acne-prone pores, and it clears pores, cleans out whiteheads and blackheads, and even fights acne. Be cautious about the amount and frequency you apply this product, as it may be dry and irritating.