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Salicylic Acid For Skin: Everything You Need To Know

Do you often experience blemishes, spots and does your skin look oily all the time? Dull, blotchy complexion, hormonal acne or just random breakouts that pop out for no reason? Well, if that is the case, there is something you can do to get your best skin and forever get rid of pimples. If there is one skincare ingredient that skin experts and dermatologists rely on, it is salicylic acid. Considered as one of the most potent anti-acne ingredients, salicylic acid is known to improve skin texture, clear and calm acne and unclog pores. This is the main ingredient for the ultimate pimple treatment you have been looking for, no wonder dermatologists swear by it!

So What is Salicylic Acid?

A form of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), SA is an oil-soluble exfoliating acid. It is derived from natural sources such as willow tree bark, wintergreen leaves or sweet birch bark. This popular ingredient has anti-aging and skin soothing benefits. It promotes healthy skin by aiding in the process of skin sloughing – which means shedding of the dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. If you’ve struggled with oily skin and constant breakouts, this ingredient is a holy grail and has been medically proven to be effective against your battle with acne.

What Are the Benefits of Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is an acid exfoliant and works by softening and dissolving keratin. Keratin is a protein naturally found in the skin that can clog pores and block hair follicles. It is easy to penetrate into skin, and best suited for oily and acne-prone skin. It also works on fading dark spots, targeting uneven skin tone and if used in mild doses, will do wonders to your skin.

Uses and Benefits of Salicylic Acid for Skin

Some clear benefits of this hero ingredient are mentioned below: 

It treats acne and other skin conditions

When topically applied, salicylic acid softens skin removing top layer, it dissolves dead skin and unclogs pores. The deep exfoliation process helps prevent acne and breakouts. The peeling effect removes all dry skin and gives you smoother complexion. In other words, it is all the pimple solution you need! Salicylic acid is also used in the treatment of skin conditions like dandruff, psoriasis and to remove corns, calluses and warts. 

Offers deep exfoliation

Salicylic Acid is a keratolytic medication and is a super-effective exfoliant that encourages skin cell turnover and removes dead skin. In return revealing smoother, brighter and clearer looking skin. It can penetrate the lipid barrier of the skin and unclog the pores deeply thereby getting rid of oil, dirt, blackheads and improve pores.

Controls excess oiliness

Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning it has the ability to penetrate the oil gland and reduce sebum production and shrink pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm any redness or irritation. Since salicylic acid deeply exfoliates the skin and unclogs the pores, it treats the root cause of blackheads or whiteheads. With this, it prevents new ones from forming as well.

Decongests pores

When excess oil, pollution, dead skin cells, and debris clog the follicles in our skin, whiteheads, blackheads, and other breakouts form leading to acne, blotchiness and dull skin. Salicylic acid targets the sebaceous glands all the way in the pores to remove dead skin cells and dissolve all sebum build-up. Hence, it is ideal for skin that is prone to blackheads, whiteheads, bumps and enlarged pores.

Improves skin texture

Salicylic has skin brightening benefits and is known to minimize any scars or pigmentation as it exfoliates the stratum corneum (outer layer) of the skin without any irritation. It encourages skin turnover and evens out the skin tone as well as skin texture. Studies have also shown it to be effective to get rid of hyperpigmentation. 

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

This skin miracle ingredient because of its exfoliative nature, helps in reducing the appearance of fine lines, dullness, puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles. It helps smooth out skin and also promotes collagen growth.

How to Use Salicylic Acid

It is commonly used in face cleansers and spot treatments. Salicylic acid as an ingredient is found in varied skin care formulations such as face exfoliators, overnight face masks, serums gel, moisturizers and facial essences too. Since it has an ability to tackle acne breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads, it is found in  a lot of spot treatment products and is quite effective too. Just like any chemical exfoliant used in skincare it is also recommended to use salicylic acid once in a week as a beginner and then gradually step up when your skin can handle it. People with sensitive skin should use salicylic acid under the guidance of a skin expert.

Few things to keep in mind when using salicylic acid: 

  • Use products containing salicylic acid on alternate days, unless you have an acne breakout.
  • DO NOT use Salicylic Acid or for that matter any acid with retinol or retinoid.
  • Always moisturize your skin after using it. 
  • Use sunscreen especially over SPF 30. Since Salicylic Acid is a form of BHA and does exfoliate your skin, use a good sunscreen to protect your skin and regularly apply the same every 2 hours, also avoid exposing your skin to direct sunlight. 
  • If using a face mask containing salicylic acid, leave it on only for the time period as per the instructions.

Now that you know what this magic ingredient can do for your skin, add it to your skin regimen right away. 

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