What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a prominent acne treatment ingredient that is used in many acne treatments on the market. Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid found on a willow tree. It is extracted from the bark of the extract to produce a compound called Salicin. The conversion of this substance into a sugar and upon oxidation becomes Salicylic Acid.

It is common found in acne treatments that come with pads as applicators. However, it is also found in acne lotions, creams, cleansers, gels, and even in toners. Salicylic Acid causes the skin to exfoliate and prevent further pores from clogging up. This exfoliating action on the skin helps prevent acne from forming by eliminating dead skin cells. Believe it or not, its powerful chemical base is used to treat other skin disorders including dandruff, psoriasis, calluses, corns, warts, and more.

How it Works

Salicylic acid treats acne by exfoliating away dead skin. It also has the ability to penetrate the pores of the skin. These two actions allow the dead skin cells to be exfoliated and keep the follicles clear. Helping keep the pores clear of debris like dead skin cells, it reduces the pores being blocked and prevents the breakout of acne.

Some common products containing salicylic acid include:

Does Salicylic Acid Produce Any Side Effects?

One of the major downfalls of using Salicylic Acid is because this harsh chemical has properties to treat acne, but it also produces a host of harmful side effects. Common side effects are irritations and dryness on the skin, but more severe side effects has also been reported. In fact, using salicylic acid in conjunction with other acne treatments Retin A, Differin, or benzoyl peroxide based products like Proactiv, increased irritation, dryness, peeling, or stinging can occur.

Salicylic Acid has been known to cause the following side effects:

  1. Stinging
  2. Burning
  3. Skin Peeling
  4. Scaling
  5. Rashes
  6. Itching
  1. Dryness
  2. Redness
  3. Severe Irritation
  4. Swelling on the Face
  5. Vomit
  6. Fatigue

Our Conculsions

Salicylic Acid is a mediocre acne treatment ingredient that lacks the power that other ingredients have and also brings a host of different side effects with it. The major downfall of using Salicylic Acid is mostly due to the fact that this harsh chemical can irritate and cause dryness on the skin. The good news is that there are just so many more ingredients out there that doubles the power of Salicylic Acid and does not produce any side effects. In fact, there are many all natural acne treatment ingredients that will help improve the condition of your skin while getting rid of acne. For these reasons, we feel there are better acne treatment ingredients that you should pursue and think twice about Salicylic Acid.

With the faults of Salicylic Acid, we’ve come up with best 3 products that works just as well any of the side effects…

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Product: Neutrogena 2% S.A. products

I’m 19 and when I stopped using Benzoyl Peroxide at 17, my face went crazy! I spent two years trying to overcome it with sulfer soap, acai, and other more natural remedies only to come back to using my older sister’s Oil-Free Acne Wash. It seemed to bring an improvement in just a few days so I purchased many of the Rapid Clear 2-in-1 products and after a month, I’d say my face is about 75% cleared. S.A. may not be for everyone, but not everyone’s body chemistry is the same. It’s worth a shot.

By: Emily - April 26, 2011

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