salicylic acid effects on skin

Salicylic Acid Effects On Skin Salicylic acid is one of the most common acne treating ingredients on the market.  But how does it actually work in the skin?  Why is it so popular?  Let's take a further look... What Exactly is Salicylic Acid? Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid originally derived from willow bark, win

salicylic acid effects on skin

by Nicole Mandallaz

Salicylic Acid Effects On Skin

willow tree

Salicylic acid is one of the most common acne treating ingredients on the market.  But how does it actually work in the skin?  Why is it so popular?  Let's take a further look...

What Exactly is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid originally derived from willow bark, wintergreen leaves and sweet birch.  It is oil soluble, meaning it binds to oil, where most other acids like Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as glycolic and lactic acids are water-soluble so they bind to water. 

So how does it work then?

 Salicylic acid works to clear the skin in a few ways:

Because of its oil solubility it attracts to the naturally occurring oils in the skin. 

It also has a larger molecule structure than alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic, which helps it penetrate deeper directly into pores and follicles, where it can then break up clogged material in them.  It also helps break up intracellular cement which is the sort of "glue" that holds skin cells together.  This creates exfoliation over all.

smiling face with clear skin

Salicylic acid also belongs to a group of chemicals called salicylates, which includes aspirin, other pain relieving medications and plants (like willow herb and birch).  Because of this, it also has proven anti-inflammatory benefits in the skin, making it particularly helpful to bring down redness and swelling associated with inflamed acne and ingrown hairs.  But also, because of this, people allergic to aspirin should avoid salicylic containing products and peels.

What sort of skin issues should it be used for?

We recommend using salicylic acid based products or receiving salicylic based peels for issues with inflamed acne, rosacea and ingrown hairs.  It can be quite drying so a good barrier restoring moisturizer and or hydrating serum should be used with it.  

 

 

 

 

Nicole Mandallaz
Esthetician, acne and aging expert, ingredients nerd, information junkie.
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