What's salicylic acid?

What are the benefits of salicylic acid for the skin?

Anyone can use salicylic acid, but it’s especially useful for people with oily or acne-prone skin. Here’s what it can do:

  • Penetrates deep into pores
  • Loosens dead skin cells
  • Clears clogged pores
  • Reduces sebum secretion
  • Reduces inflammation and redness
  • Helps to break down pimples and comedones

    Salicylic acid improves the skin’s appearance, reduces blemishes and helps to prevent blackheads and breakouts.

    Salicylic acid for acne

    As it’s oil-soluble, salicylic acid can penetrate down into pores and dissolve excess sebum and debris, making it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. It also regulates oil production.’

    ‘An anti-inflammatory effect can help skin to look less red and inflamed,’ she continues. ‘The general exfoliating effect will help the skin look brighter and smoother and allow other skincare products to penetrate the skin more effectively.’

    Salicylic acid as an exfoliant

    Salicylic acid is keratolytic, which means that it breaks down keratin, says Dr Nasir. Keratin is the main protein in your skin and it makes up your skin barrier – the outermost layer. ‘Salicylic acid helps remove dead skin cells by chemically exfoliating the top layer of skin,’ she says.

    Salicylic acid for blackheads and whiteheads

    Blackhead and whiteheads form when excess oil mixes with dead skin cells and forms a plug that clogs a pore. Due to its keratolytic properties, salicylic acid delves deep into skin to dissolve the plugs.

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