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A Simple Guide To Salicylic Acid And Its Role In Skincare

A Simple Guide To Salicylic Acid And Its Role In Skincare


Salicylic acid is one of the most popular ingredients in skincare. It enjoys a reputation as a leader in the treatment of skin imperfections such as acne. Praised by both dermatologists and bloggers, salicylic acid is said to be sufficient on its own to treat all types of blemishes.

Since its discovery, this skincare magic healer has been praised for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to calm down skin irritation. It is extracted from the bark of Willow (tree or shrub of the Salicaceae family) by different processes and has served different purposes through time, including the treatment of pain and fever. Thus, it will later become the ingredient at the origin of acetylsalicylic acid, better known under the trade name “aspirin.” In addition to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, there is a long list of various benefits of salicylic acid on the skin. Consequently, this makes it highly coveted in the formulation of topical medical treatments and cosmetic products.

Photo: Rachel Cheng/Unsplash

In addition, salicylic acid has anti-irritant properties that soothe the skin and reduces redness. These properties also calm sore pimples and regulate uneven skin tone problems. This, therefore, make it the ingredient par excellence for treating many types of blemishes. It is used as an acne treatment because it can help break down pimples and blackheads.

Why salicylic acid is useful for fighting acne

Photo: Audrey M Jackson/Unsplash

Depending on its dosage, salicylic acid is very useful for treating certain skin conditions other than acne, such as psoriasis, warts, and other scaly pathologies like dandruff. When applied to the face using serums and creams, salicylic acid stimulates cell renewal and allows the skin to regenerate, thus providing numerous benefits such as:

  • The complexion: It gets rid of dead cells that dull the complexion making the skin shine. As for skin prone to post-inflammatory or photo-induced hyperpigmentation, salicylic acid, by eliminating cells filled with melanin accumulated on the surface, reduces pigment spots for the benefit of an even complexion.
  • A younger appearance of the skin: The cell renewal stimulated by the acid induces skin renewal in favor of smoothed skin.
  • Acne: Cell renewal inhibits the formation of comedones by preventing blockage of the pores that end up causing acne.

Thanks to its antiseptic properties, this skincare staple also prevents the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses on the skin’s surface. It, therefore, stops the proliferation of Cutibacterium acnes which cause inflammatory reactions in acne that are visible in the form of papules and pustules. These antiseptic properties also give salicylic acid a preservative role in the formulation of many cosmetic products.

Dosage of SA

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As a cosmetic ingredient, it is safe to use. Indeed, a low dose is enough to benefit from its properties, and its dosage is strictly controlled. When used as a preservative, salicylic acid is formulated to a maximum of 0.5%. When used in a solution intended to be rinsed off (for example, shampoos) salicylic acid is formulated at a maximum of 3%. When used in other products such as serums and creams, salicylic acid is formulated at a maximum of 2%.

Shop salicylic acid products for acne


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