What Is Salicylic Acid And How Does It Work
Salicylic acid sits within the skincare acid family, but it is different from others. Glycolic, lactic and mandelic are all alpha hydroxy acids, whereas salicylic is classified as a beta hydroxy acid: in fact, its the only one used in skincare.
Naturally sourced from willow tree bark, this fat-soluble beta hydroxy acid penetrates follicles to break down oil build-up, reducing and preventing pore blockages, explains dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.
Of course, salicylic acid is famed for its spot-fighting powers, but a good product will actually do much more than shrink down an angry pimple, as Dr. Gross explains. A keratolytic agent, salicylic acid reduces the pH of skin and increases hydration as well as encouraging the process of desquamation . It can also directly dissolve keratin plugs and regulate skin cells to fight acne and blemishes.”
Best Peeling Gel: Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Exfoliating Peel Gel
A peeling gel is a good midpoint between a physical exfoliator and a chemical exfoliator, and Madfes recommends this option by Peter Thomas Roth. As you massage it on your face, you can feel dead skin cells gently sloughing away thanks to the pineapple and pomegranate enzymes in its formulation.
Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash Wipes: C’est Moi Clarify Blemish Clearing Wipes
Let’s face it: There are just some times where a full-on face wash just isn’t in the cards, which is when cleansing wipes prove to be invaluable. Plus, if you have oily skin, wipes can often degrease in a way that many cleansers can not, says Dr. Greenfield. She likes these hypoallergenic, salicylic acid face wipes, which contain a one percent concentration of salicylic acid, and no potentially-irritating ingredients, say says. The wipes themselves are biodegradable, a major win if you’re looking to minimize the impact your beauty routine has the environment. (
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Heres The Best Salicylic Acid Cleanser To Eliminate Dark Spots Blemishes And Pimples
Want to get rid of dirt and oil that trigger acne breakouts?
Get the best product for the job.
Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser contains salicylic acid that eliminates 99 percent of oil, dirt, and impurities off your skin.
Its the perfect treatment for pimples and dark spots and stops breakouts cold.
Wondering what to expect from Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser?
Those acne breakouts wont see the light of day again. This pimple-fighting solution can clear up blackheads and dead skin particles off your pores.
Once theyre off, this ice cleanser provides a cooling effect that invigorates your skin.
Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser will also gently exfoliate your skin to reveal a more youthful, glowing you.
The Best Salicylic Acid Cleansers For Every Skin Type
2 February 2022
If you want to clear your skin, and look a whole lot brighter, you’ve come to right place
Heres a skincare junkies dream trivia question: whats the difference between an AHA and a BHA?
Both are hydroxy acids and are a big deal when it comes to exfoliating the skin. However while AHAs tend to take up a lot of the glory BHAs are certainly no slouch.
The difference? AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugar cane, fruit and plants. Given their make-up you can add them to other water-based products if you want to amp up hydration levels at the same time. Glycolic acid is a big one under this umbrella. AHAs are good for helping to shed dead skin cells and stimulate collagen and can therefore target sun damage and fine lines.
BHAS meanwhile are oil soluble, which means they are able wiggle deeper into the skins pores and help remove excess sebum and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid , is one of the best known in the BHA family. Because of its clearing house capabilities, and anti-inflammatory properties, its particularly useful for acne-prone or congested skin types.
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How Does Salicylic Acid Work
Unlike other common ingredients of acne medications, salicylic acid is anti-inflammatory, which decreases the redness and inflammation associated with red, tender pimples. It can also slough the outermost layer of skin by breaking apart the bonds between the skin cells, Dr. Nazarian explains. This leads to a gentle exfoliation process that’s useful for preventing and treating acne, along with other skin conditions like clogged pores, dandruff, and warts.
What Is Salicylic Acid Face Wash Good For
Here’s the really cool thing about salicylic acid cleansers and face washes: they’re really good at fighting blackheads and whiteheads.
Because salicylic acid digs deep into the skin, it dissolves the kind of debris and buildup that clogs pores and causes acne. While it can be effective against cystic acne – the painful red bumps that never come to a head – it is better at treating blackheads and whiteheads.
That’s not the only thing salicylic acid is good for, either:
Exfoliation: because it loosens and breaks apart desmosomes – the attachments between cells and the outer layers of the skin – salicylic acid is a natural exfoliator. It digs deep and cleans deep so that your skin feels fresh.
Oily skin: salicylic acid is an ideal ingredient in a face wash for oily skin, too. With its ability to dig deep, salicylic acid can penetrate oily skin to reach the pores and clean them out. Now, this isn’t the case for all salicylic acid face washes, but there are a number of options on our list specifically made for that purpose.
Anti-Inflammatory: salicylic acid contains the same anti-inflammatory ingredient as aspirin. Pretty cool, huh? It naturally calms inflamed skin and reduces redness.
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Benefits Of Salicylic Acid In Skincare
Although salicylic acid is best known for its ability to treat whiteheads and blackheads, it can also help eliminate buildup and scaling on the skin caused by psoriasis, warts, calluses and dandruff, said Garshick. Since salicylic acid can also buff away dead skin cells, it boosts the efficacy of your face moisturizer by allowing it to better penetrate your skin, she added.
Popular skin care brands like Neutrogena, CeraVe and Nécessaire have created body washes and scrubs to help those dealing with pimples popping up on their back popularly referred to as bacne. You can also utilize salicylic acid face products on your body if you prefer. For example, in our recent guide to the best acne face washes, board-certified dermatologist Erum Ilyas, MD, recommended showering with Neutrogenas salicylic acid face cleanser to help minimize pesky body acne.
Paulas Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Infused with a smaller dose of 0.5% salicylic acid, Paulas Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser is a gentle face wash thats comfortable even for sensitive skin.
The lightweight gel texture and fragrance-free formula mean that your skin is cleansed like a soft hug no irritation, no squeaky skin texture, and your face is left feeling very, very loved.
The Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser is not just Paulas Choice, its dermatologists too.
Paulas Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser retails for S$11 or S$29 on Shopee.
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Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Acne
Knock out pesky pimples with this salicylic acid cleanser. Along with two-percent salicylic acid, the highest concentration you can get over-the-counter, it also has the added benefit of zinc, another powerful acne-fighter that combats oil and reduces inflammation. The Inkey List’s salicylic acid face wash foams nicely and leaves skin feeling clean, but doesn’t contain sodium laurel sulfate, a potentially-irritating ingredient, like many other foaming formulas, notes Nava Greenfield, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, who likes this product. (
Soonjung Ph 65 Whip Cleanser
Etude House Face Wash for Daily Cleansing
Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser
This soothing and gentle foam cleanser is excellent for daily use, and is particularly beneficial for sensitive and drier skin types. It contains a variety of ingredients that moisturize and nourish to keep the skin adequately hydrated and balanced.
This simple but effective cleanser contains panthenol, glycerin, madecassoside , and camellia sinensis leaf extract. These ingredients hydrate, soothe, protect, fight signs of aging, and repair the skin, while cleansing ingredients effectively wash away dirt and debris.
- May not be suitable for acne-prone skin
98.9% of the ingredients in this gentle cleanser are naturally derived, and it is also free of common irritants .
Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Propanediol, Lauryl Glucoside, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Panthenol, Madecassoside, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations”
Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
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Additional reporting to this story by Jennifer Nied
As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel $18
As one of our favorite brands for niacinamide serums, Vichy has a dermatologist-recommended cleanser specially curated for acne-prone skin.
This product has a unique ingredient of volcanic water along with a gentle formulation of salicylic acid which makes a lovely hydrating, acne-fighting cleanser, Greenfield highlights.
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Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam
Hada Labo Face Wash for Daily Cleansing
Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam
This hydrating cleansing foam effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining moisture levels for balanced, supple skin.
The star ingredient in this Hada Labo cleanser is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid pulls moisture to the skin, helping to increase hydration levels.
- May not be suitable for acne-prone skin
This cleanser contains additional ingredients that increase hydration , and is free of fragrance and color additives.
Water, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, TEA-Cocoyl Alaninate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Succinic Acid
Cetaphil Face Wash for Daily Cleansing
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This cult-favorite cleanser is known as one of the best Cetaphil products of all time. The creamy formula gently removes debris from the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.
This gentle cleanser is perfect for everyday use, and is appropriate for all skin types . It has been clinically proven to be gentle on sensitive skin, and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized, rather than tight and dry. This cleanser contains vitamins B3 and B5, as well as glycerin, which hydrate and nourish the skin.
- May not be effective enough for acne-prone skin
Best Soothing Salicylic Acid Face Wash: Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser
If your skin is ultra-dry or sensitive, salicylic acid isn’t the ingredient for you, but if your skin sits more toward the normal range, with just some occasional irritation, you can still go for it. Just be sure to look for formulas that pair the potent ingredient with others that help soothe and calm. Case in the point: This classic salicylic acid cleanser from Mario Badescu, a celeb-loved skin-care brand. Along with salicylic acid and clarifying thyme extract, it also contains hydrating and calming aloe vera.
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Doctors Recommend The Best Salicylic Acid Products For Acne
Select is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.
Salicylic acid is the gold standard for treating blackheads, whiteheads and excess oil and is naturally found in willow bark, vegetables and fruits. A common skin care ingredient, youve likely come across it while shopping for acne face washes, blackhead treatments and acne spot treatments, explained board-certified dermatologist Kathleen Viscusi, MD. But what is it, and why is it so popular? A beta hydroxy acid that can penetrate the skin to help remove excess oil and unclog the pores, salicylic acid possesses keratolytic properties that enable it to exfoliate dead skin cells and improve texture and tone, noted board-certified dermatologist , MD. If youre dealing with congested pores and acne right now, you might be looking for skin care products with salicylic acid in them. To help you find the right options for you, we consulted medical doctors on the benefits and limitations of salicylic acid in skincare.
Looking For A Salicylic Acid Face Wash That Wont Dry Your Skin
Dont like it when your skin dries after putting on your skincare products?
Thats what happens when theres too much salicylic acid in your facial wash.
But you dont have to worry about that when you use Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash.
This wonderful product will leave your skin hydrated.
Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash is specially formulated using glacial waters and botanicals. It rejuvenates your skin while fighting off inflammation and free radicals.
For gentle facial cleansing and acne-fighting, try Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash.
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Unclog Pores And Banish Breakouts With The Best Salicylic Acid Cleansers Serums Moisturisers And More
In a world where acne and blemishes are still one of our top skincare concerns no longer confined to the trenches of our teenage years, unfortunately salicylic acid is a game-changing ingredient that deserves its cult status. Its a beta hydroxy acid derived from willow bark and has long been applauded for its spot-fighting properties. Now its present in more skincare products than ever before.
It works by softening and dissolving keratin, a protein naturally found in the skin that can block pores by causing skin cells to stick together, explains clinical dermatology GP, Dr Sonia. It helps to loosen desmosomes, allowing the cell to let go of the excess sebum that oily skins tend to hold on to. Since salicylic acid keeps pores unclogged, it helps with whiteheads and blackheads. It also exfoliates dead skin cells.
Best Scrub: Neova Smartskincare Serious Microderm Scrub
Physical exfoliants are great when you want softer and smoother skin immediately, but you want to make sure they’re gentle enough to not cause damage. Palep loves this option from Neova, which she uses herself once to twice a week. “It has really fine microderm particles, so you can’t get into too much trouble with it,” she says.
The scrub also contains glycolic acid, so it has some chemical exfoliating properties, too. Another key ingredient, aloe, ensures that it doesn’t dry out the skin.
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Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser
Paula’s Choice Face Wash for Daily Cleansing
Paulas Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser
This cream cleanser is one of the best Paulas Choice cleansers for dry and sensitive skin, as it is super gentle on the skin, and softens and hydrates.
Those with sensitive skin need a cleanser that wont cause any irritation. This hydrating cream cleanser was formulated with sensitive skin in mind, and is even suitable for those with eczema.
- May not be suitable for acne-prone skin
This creamy cleanser was formulated with hydrating and soothing skincare ingredients, including soja oil and matricaria flower extract.
Water , Hydrogenated Polydecene , Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate , Glycine Soja Oil , C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate , Polysorbate 80 , Laureth-4 , Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer , Cocamidopropyl Betaine , Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract, Beta-Glucan , Mineral Oil , PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate , Butylene Glycol , Disodium EDTA , Sodium Hydroxide , Hexylene Glycol , Caprylyl Glycol , Ethylhexylglycerin , Phenoxyethanol , Chlorphenesin .
Check Out This Wonderful Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Acne
This fantastic product comes highly recommended by dermatologists around the world.
And its a popular brand known for fighting stubborn acne and other impurities.
Introducing Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser.
Wondering what to expect from this salicylic acid face wash?
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser goes deep into your pores and eliminates anything thats clogging them. And because its oil-free, it can easily penetrate into those hard-to-reach places and clear them.
The salicylic acid will get in there and get rid of your pimple problem. It will also prevent future breakouts.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser will also remove stubborn blackheads and deep-seated oil.
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Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Combination Skin: Cerave Renewing Sa Cleanser
If your skin can’t make up its mind and you have both slick spots and dry patches, reach for this salicylic acid face wash from CeraVe, a top pick for both derms. “Because it contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides, it’s much more hydrating than other salicylic acid cleansers, making it a good option for those with combination skin,” explains Dr. Icecreamwala. Dr. Greenfield agrees, noting that this facial cleanser with salicylic acid won’t dry out your skin.
When Is The Best Time To Use A Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients in a cleanser for acne.
Its an exfoliant that helps clear pores and prevent breakouts by removing dead skin cells.
However, it can also be drying so use it with care.
Salicylic acid cleansers are available over-the-counter from pharmacies and online but how do you know when to use them?
This article will explain everything you need to know about salicylic acid cleansers including how they work when they should be used and what ingredients they include so you can make an informed decision about whether or not theyre right for your skin type.
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