When it comes to understanding skincare, knowing how certain ingredients work allows you to better treat the needs of your skin. One of the most common components in acne-fighting products is salicylic acid. A powerful exfoliant, salicylic acid works under the skin to rid pores of impurities, however, it's not for everyone. For more information, L'OFFICIEL has everything you need to know about salicylic acid and its role in your skincare routine.
What is salicylic acid?
When it comes to skin products, there are two classes of acids that you will often see: beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Salicylic acid is a BHA. Both AHA and BHAs exfoliate the skin chemically, but AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs are oil-soluble. Oil-soluble ingredients can penetrate the skin at a deeper level than their water-soluble counterparts.
What does salicylic acid do for the skin?
Because salicylic acid is oil soluble, it can penetrate deep into the skin to do rid your face of underlying oil and dirt. This quality is precisely what makes salicylic acid such a potent ingredient to fight acne—especially for blackheads and whiteheads.
Once it penetrates the skin, salicylic acid dissolves the dead skin that clog the pores, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. This breakdown of skin cells also promotes exfoliation.
Who should avoid using salicylic acid?
It should be noted that you should not use too much salicylic acid or it can be a problem. The main negative side effect of salicylic acid is its ability to irritate and dry out the skin for people who are very sensitive or who use it excessively.
Depending on the concentration and number of applications, some people may experience dryness, flaking, redness, and some skin irritation. For this reason, those with already very dry or sensitive skin should consider avoiding