Salicylic acid cleanser: Can it really clear acne?

Salicylic acid cleanser: Can it really clear acne?
by Truly Beauty

Salicylic acid cleanser: Can it really clear acne?

Ah, acne. Will the quest for perfectly clear skin ever end? It sometimes feels like there's such a wide choice of acne-fighting products out there, but not enough time or money to try them all and see if they're worth the hype. Plus, it's not like everyone can afford a visit to a dermatologist. 

That's why it's often useful to familiarize yourself with some basic skincare ingredients that are known to banish breakouts. Like salicylic acid, for instance. 

Derived from willow bark, it's one of the most well-known acne-fighting ingredients - along with benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid - and has been proven to minimize blackheads and whiteheads and prevent future breakouts from forming.

Got acne-prone skin yourself? Sounds like it's time to invest in a good salicylic acid cleanser to pave the way for clear, dewy, blemish-free skin. The kind of skin everybody craves! 


Salicylic acid should be at the top of your list if you want to see an end to your breakouts. See, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which means the hydroxy element of the molecule is disattached from the acid element by two carbon atoms. Whereas alpha hydroxy acids are only separated by one.

Beta hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin and are water-soluble, making salicylic acid extremely effective at deeply penetrating the skin and targeting acne. It is especially useful at eliminating blackheads and whiteheads thanks to its pore unclogging abilities. 

Upon penetration, your salicylic acid cleanser will unclog your pores and act as an anti-inflammatory to soothe inflamed pimples. It will also slough away dead skin cells and get rid of excess oil. 

It's available over the counter in concentrations ranging from 0.5-2%. Of course, which concentration you choose depends on the severity of your acne and how your skin adjusts to it. If you have sensitive skin, for example, avoid heading straight for the maximum strength. Instead, start with the 0.5% and slowly increase the strength the more you use it. This way, your skin can learn to adjust to the product and prevent any irritation from occurring. 


If you suffer from clogged pores, salicylic acid is your best friend. Excessive oiliness, P. acnes bacteria and abnormal skin cell action are the three main contributors to acne. By dissolving the skin debris and grime that causes clogged pores, it can also help significantly in the removal of blackheads and whiteheads. A foaming cleanser works very well. That's because you can lather it up well and thoroughly cleanse your skin.

It can treat cystic acne thanks to its antibacterial properties, but it's main specialization lies in banishing blackheads. Cystic acne is usually caused by internal factors such as diet, hormones and genetics. That's why topical acne treatments don't often work.


It's great for oily skin

This BHA is a great exfoliating ingredient for oily skin. It helps to exfoliate the surface of your skin and inside the pore lining, enabling the oil to reach the surface and preventing it from clogging your pores. So, if you're trying to acquire an oil-free complexion, invest in a good salicylic exfoliating cleanser that gets to the root of the problem. A word of warning: do check the label of the gel cleanser or foaming acne cleanser to ensure it is oil-free. It's often oil, after all, that causes breakouts. 


It's non-comedogenic

Salicylic acid acne treatment is non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores and bring about blemishes. 

It works even better with tea tree oil

There are certain skin care ingredients you should mix together and some you absolutely shouldn't. Vitamin c mixed with salicylic acid, for example, is said to counteract its benefits. Mixing salicylic with tea tree oil, on the other hand, can make it even more effective at diminishing pimples. 

Apply a 2% salicylic acid leave-on acne treatment to your face. Then, add a few drops of tea tree oil onto a damp cotton swab, before dotting it directly onto breakouts. It's a great skin clearing treatment that helps get rid of acne overnight.

Lactic acid also works well with salicylic acid.


It clears blemishes quickly 

Finding a face wash that actually clears skin isn't easy. But if you know what you're looking for, you increase your chances of finding a face wash, toner, or cream cleanser that actually fights acne. Always look at the ingredients and check it contains salicylic acid. Any dermatologist will tell you that this chemical is most effective for the acne-prone skin type. It's also great for oily skin and combination skin. You just have to be careful if you have dry skin, as overuse can cause further dryness. 


There is such a thing as overdosing on salicylic acid. And that's what causes you problems. If you use too much of this acne wash - especially if you have sensitive skin - you can cause skin irritation and dryness. Of course, it depends on the concentration and how often you use it. Let's say you're using a high concentration of the acid in your cleansing gel twice a day right from the beginning, you may experience redness, peeling, dryness and irritation. You also mustn't layer it over large portions of you body, as this could lead to salicylate poisoning. Pregnant women should refrain from using this product. 


Salicylic acid comes in many forms: creams, cleansers, toners. Whether you prefer to use it as a face wash, gel cleanser, moisturizer or exfoliant, they all work in removing excess sebum, un-clogging pores and preventing future breakouts. You should definitely add this product to your skin care routine if you want to improve your skin tone and finally be free of acne. 

If your daily facial cleanser isn't doing your skin any justice, it's time to look for a new acne cleanser. There are so many skincare products claiming to banish breakouts and be dermatologist-approved, but not all of them are telling the truth. 

To find the best salicylic acid face washes, make sure you choose a product free of parabens that is suitable for your skin type. You'll find lots of different types with different flavors, such as pink grapefruit, chamomile, green tea and aloe vera. Just make sure you find the most natural, oil-free salicylic acid cleanser. 



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