Salicylic acid is, arguably, the best pimple-busting ingredient around. A powerful exfoliant that penetrates deep into pores and eliminates blackhead and pimple-causing nasties.
What makes salicylic acid so effective?
Salicylic acid is a BHA or beta hydroxy acid. It’s a rapid, oil soluble chemical exfoliant (that means it doesn’t break down with water) so it can penetrate into deep into the pores of the skin.
It’s a popular ingredient that is used in facial cleansers, toners, exfoliators, pimple treatments and body washes. Targeting congestion and breakouts on the face and body. It’s also used in anti-aging serums because of its ability to reveal softer, smoother looking skin.
What is salicylic acid used for?
You’ve probably reached for a zit-busting product containing this ingredient when you want to dry out a pimple overnight. However, it’s function is actually exfoliation. Dermatologists such as Rachel, who is based in New York city classify salicylic acid as a keratolytic medication. "Keratolytic medications cause softening and sloughing of the top layer of skin cells,” she tells Allure.
She continues, “One theory of acne is that the skin cells do not behave normally, and rather than sloughing off through a healthy skin cell cycle, they stick together and clog the pores, creating cysts and blackheads.
"Salicylic acid aids in removing and loosening these skin cells and helps to dissolve the blackheads," says Nazarian.
Are they any side effects?
Salicylic acid is not the best choice if you have really dry skin, if you're pregnant, or if you're taking certain medications.
Scroll to discover some of our favourite products which contain salicylic acid for you to incorporate into your daily skin care regimen.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution ($9.30; at adorebeauty.com.au)
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($24; at mecca.com.au)
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($196.00; at mecca.com.au)
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($124; at mecca.com.au)