Salicylic Acid Face Wash Makes Short Shrift Of Skin Blemishes
In a range of cleansing products, salicylic acid is gentle on the skin, contrary to the visuals the word ’acid’ summons up.
The trending worldwide fad for K-Dramas has thrown the spotlight on skin care for audiences of all age groups. Little wonder that social media has been in a tizzy raving about the stunning ‘glass skin’, an outcome of the iconic Korean ‘7 skin method’ beauty technique to achieve that coveted dewy, smooth, hydrated look.
For all of us not so blessed with this ‘shining’ example of super-duper skin, it’s been a compelling incentive, regardless of gender or age, to rejig our daily beauty routines. That we are paying more attention to skincare and dedicating time and money in this regard is richly mirrored in the line-up of potions, ointments, astringents, cleansers, scrubs and skin washes in beauty stores and salons. The market today is flooded with a range of alluringly packaged skincare products, so you don’t have to visit the salon to undergo these skincare routines; you can, as easily, follow through at home on your own. However, as the skin can also be very sensitive, it’s always best to be cautious. Since it can get quite confusing, given the variety of products on the shelves today, checking the claims of these products with your dermatologist or beauty consultant is highly recommended.
We are hearing a lot about Salicylic Acid (BHA or beta hydroxy acid) face washes as an exfoliator to decongest the dirt and impurities clogging the pores and thus prevent pimples, and worse still, acne. Available both as an easy-to-use serum or face wash, it is readily accepted for enhancing cosmetic appearances. If you have oily skin and are easily susceptible to acne, start with a salicylic acid wash rather than a BHA serum. What’s comforting about using salicylic acid is that it’s non-abrasive, anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin naturally. It’s an excellent replacement for rougher options such as scrubs. Any dryness your skin may encounter because of the face wash can be countered by a good moisturiser, which works well with it for more layering. The trick is to use it every second night. Massage it into damp skin for better results; rinse, then moisturise the skin well after. During the day, you can use another gentle cleanser and again moisturise with a water-based lotion.
Salicylic Acid To Counter Serious Skin Conditions
The efficacy of salicylic acid (2-hydroxybenzoic acid or ortho hydroxybenzoic acid) as a cleanser has for centuries been acknowledged as it has been used for a range of skin conditions such as acne vulgaris, freckles, photodamage–damage to the skin by ultraviolet rays, melasma–brown or blue-grey patches and spots on the face, and lentigo, or what we know as a liver spot resultant from sun-exposure, found most commonly on the face and back of the hands. It’s also proven to be both safe and efficient as a peeling agent (acid-based exfoliating of surface layers of the skin, leading to the removal of superficial lesions followed by regeneration of new epidermal and dermal tissues) in Fitzpatrick Skin Types I–III and in skin types V and VI. Here’s a quick recap of the Fitzpatrick Classification:
- Skin Type I: Skin always burns, doesn’t tan at all, and is sensitive to UV exposure
- Skin Type II: The skin burns easily and tans very little
- Skin Type III: Darker White skin that tans after the initial burn
- Skin Type IV: Light Brown skin which burns minimally and tans easily
- Skin Type V: Brown skin, which rarely burns and tans easily
- Skin Type VI: Dark Brown or Black skin, which never burns and tans darkly
Though sourced naturally from willow bark, sweet birch, and wintergreen leaves it’s also possible for salicylic acid to be created artificially.
The Rise and Rise of Salicylic Acid in Cosmetic Dermatology
Reflecting a growing demand from a burgeoning skincare market, there is a range of serums, face washes, toners and moisturisers featuring salicylic acid, under various brands to choose from. Apart from the serious skin conditions listed above, salicylic acid, a member of a group of compounds known as hydroxyl acids, is making a deep foray into cosmetic conditions as a peeling agent. Being oil-soluble, salicylic acid can dig deep into the pores of the skin to get rid of impurities more efficiently than a water-soluble ingredient. It’s also excellent as an exfoliator for sloughing off dead surface skin and revealing the new skin underneath, making the complexion bright and healthy looking again. Those with blackheads and whiteheads will love the ministrations of this wonder ingredient, which goes about its work, safely, efficiently and soothingly by dissolving them! Being anti-inflammatory, it rids the redness in your pimples and pus from the more persistent skin breakouts. Packed with keratolytic and comedolytic properties, it’s useful for decreasing the secretion of sebum in those suffering from stubborn pimples and acne. It has shown excellent results in cases of freckles, pigmentation, and photoaging of hands.
A salicylic acid wash is a great helpline for those looking for an unblemished complexion, but a word of caution needs to be shared–If you have very dry skin or super sensitive skin ditch using salicylic acid; the same applies if you are pregnant or on blood thinners or any medications which don’t team well with it.
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