Read This Before Choosing A Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Before you pick any salicylic acid cleanser to get rid of your acne or get rid of pesky blackhead bumps, check out these important facts
Salicylic acid has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. In fact, chances are you’ve probably already used a product containing salicylic acid if you’ve explored any OTC treatment for acne or oily skin. It’s an acid derived from willow bark that’s become increasingly popular for skin exfoliation and to manage acne. But before you get swept up by the many praises for this exfoliating acid and run to the nearest beauty counter, it’s best if you know what it is, how it works, and most importantly, if it’s right for your skin type.
What Do Salicylic Acid Cleansers Do?
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid derived from the bark of a Willow tree that’s used in skin cleansers and acne-treatment cosmetics. Certain shampoos also contain this BHA for treating dandruff and scalp irritation. There are also serums and moisturisers containing salicylic acid. If you opt for salicylic acid cleansers, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- Unclog Pores
AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid), and BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) both work as exfoliants, but BHAs such as Salicylic acid go deep into the skin, dissolving any oil build-up and dead skin cells. AHAs, whereas, only work on the skin’s surface - brightening your skin colour and improving texture.
- Soothes Acne
It’s common for people with oily, combination or sensitive skin, to have pimples and other types of acne ever so often. If that sounds like you, then salicylic acid, along with retinol and retinoid, are great solutions for soothing acne flare-ups, and keeping your skin pores clean.
Salicylic acid is a gentle but powerful exfoliant. It essentially dissolves the bonds between dead skin cells and smoothens the skin over time without any visible shedding or peeling of the skin. In addition, it also brightens your skin.
- Reduces Wrinkle Lines
While both AHAs and BHAs are good at improving skin texture and rejuvenating the skin, BHAs such as salicylic acid are especially effective at treating wrinkle lines, making them a lot less visible.
Since salicylic acid is a powerful exfoliant and can dry up the skin, salicylic acid cleansers may not work well on dry or sensitive skin. But if you have oily or combination skin, these cleansers work wonders on exfoliating your blackheads and whiteheads.
How To Add Salicylic Acid To Your Skincare Routine?
There are a variety of cosmetic products such as cleansers, serums and moisturisers that contain salicylic acid. If you are looking for a gentle exfoliator that unclogs your pores and brightens your skin, without drying up your skin, choose a salicylic acid cleanser with ingredients such as aloe vera and glycerin.
Whereas, if you want a solution with a more concentrated dosage of salicylic acid, then an exfoliating serum would work better. Lastly, if you want a duo of exfoliation and hydration, you can opt for a salicylic-based moisturiser with ingredients such as vitamin B3 and green tea extract.
If you’re new to exfoliating acids, it’s best to start with a cleanser and a face mask as the dosage is relatively low. Once you know how your skin reacts to the salicylic acid, and you’ve built some resistance, you can move on to using a serum or a moisturiser.
Newbie Mistakes To Avoid With Salicylic Acid Products
If you are new to exfoliating acids such as salicylic acid, there are a few things to consider before adding any new exfoliants to your skincare routine.
- Mixing AHAs and BHAs - As explained earlier, while both hydroxy acids are essential exfoliants, they both carry different levels of impact on the skin. For some people, mixing both formulations can irritate the skin. To know whether or not such a combination is safe for you, do a patch test first
- Using it during pregnancy or after childbirth - Expecting young moms and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using salicylic acid products in their skincare routine
- Not wearing sunscreen - As a rule of thumb, if you are using a salicylic acid cleanser, serum or moisturiser, make sure to wear sunscreen religiously every day
- Overdoing it - Given the efficiency of exfoliating acids, many people can go overboard with the formula. Unfortunately, if your skin is new to the formula, excess usage can do more harm than good. Stick to using it once or twice a week, even if you are using a salicylic acid cleanser
- Using it on dry skin or in winter - Salicylic acid is a powerful exfoliant but it can also dry up your skin. For people with a skin type that’s already dry, the exfoliant can cause further dryness, and even irritate the skin. In such cases, AHAs such as lactic acid or glycolic acid work better
Lastly, while salicylic acid does have anti-inflammatory properties, it may not suit every skin type, especially if you have any skin condition like Eczema or Rosacea. In such cases, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before using a salicylic acid-based cosmetic.
Salicylic acid has become a crowd favourite for oily skin and for good reason. Products containing this BHA claim to clear blackheads and whiteheads, reduce wrinkle lines and treat acne-prone skin. However, salicylic acid can also dry up your skin, so make sure to take a patch test before you buy any product.
Most products with salicylic acid have a dosage between the range of 0.5% to 2%, however, the dosage can go as high as 30% for certain prescription-based formulations that treat severe acne. If you are trying any exfoliating acid-based product for the first time, it’s best to start with a low dosage and work your way up as you build a better tolerance to the formulation.
Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.