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Salicylic Acid 101

By Ellie Hummerston

September 08, 2022 • 1 min read

Salicylic Acid 101

Want to know how salicylic acid can benefit your skin and combat breakouts? We’ve got the lowdown on this powerhouse ingredient. 

What actually is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) which is made from willow bark. Yep, as in the tree. 

Incidentally, we also get aspirin from willow trees, but while that might help with a hangover, it’s not going to fight your acne. Instead, we have Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is great because its chemical structure means it’s oil soluble and can more easily penetrate the skin. This means that BHAs are generally more gentle than AHAs, so if your skin is sensitive to other acids, Salicylic Acid could be the solution for you. 

Please do not rub your face on trees.

What does Salicylic Acid do for skin?

Thanks to its nifty chemical structure, Salicylic Acid can get DEEP into your pores, unclogging them and dissolving any gunk trapped in there. It’s also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so any spots and breakouts are healed and reduced way faster. 

Is Salicylic Acid an Exfoliant?

You betcha! Salicylic Acid softens skin cells and helps increase cell turnover, meaning your skin is able to recover faster from breakouts. It also helps to break down excess oil within your pores,  so you can expect baby soft and smooth skin when incorporated into your routine.

Is Salicylic Acid Good for Acne?

The short answer? Hell yes. 

The long answer? Acne has multiple causes, but it can generally be reduced down to excess oil, bacteria and clogged pores. Salicylic Acid dissolves skin debris that clogs pores and is antibacterial, meaning it’s perfect for targeting blackheads and whiteheads. 

Is Salicylic Acid Good for Redness?

Yes! Salicylic Acid is anti-inflammatory, meaning it can really help with those angry red blemishes that always seem to show up at the worst possible time. 

Can I use Salicylic Acid every day?

If your skin isn’t overly sensitive to it (always do a patch test when introducing a new product to your routine!), you should be absolutely fine to use Salicylic Acid every day.

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