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Scientific Name: {2-Hydroxybenzoic acid}
Common Name: {Salicylic Acid}

Many women are put off by the word “acid,” but salicylic acid is very beneficial for the skin. When it is derived naturally, it is from Willowbark. For those of us that suffer from chronic acne, salicylic acid is likely a normal part of your everyday life. Cleansing products, lotions, and sometimes even makeup contains this acid, which is used to help prevent acne from forming, as well as reduce the size and severity of existing acne. While some people prefer the benzoyl peroxide option over salicylic acid, salicylic acid has some benefits which benzoyl peroxide can’t replicate. Unlike benzoyl peroxide salicylic acid is fairly mild on the skin, and will not completely strip skin of oil and other nutrients that it needs. Because salicylic acid can be found naturally in plants and is less severe than many other skin treatments, it is a favorite among the skincare and natural communities alike.

An interesting thing to note is that salicylic acid is similar in composition to aspirin, meaning that it has very beneficial anti-inflammatory and replenishing properties, making it great for women whose skin is red, inflamed, irritated, or problematic in some way.

What does salicylic acid actually do?

Though you may be familiar with the substance, you may not understand what it does. First, this acid helps to exfoliate your face. Many times, we think of exfoliants only as scrubs that contain beads or other abrasions, which appear to physically help slough off old, dead skin. However, chemical exfoliants are often far more effective and far less damaging than physical exfoliants. They encourage the skin to naturally let go of dead skin cells, instead of ripping or tearing them away. In this way, it prevents dead skin cells from gathering in pores and clogging them. This is one of the leading causes of acne. Salicylic acid contains natural antibiotic powers. Scrub or wash can help to slough off dead skin and draw excess oil out of the skin, making it ideal for women who struggle with acne. Most acne is caused when pores are blocked by bacteria or by dead skin cells. The oil that our body naturally produces cannot get out of the pore, and when it builds up, it can create a small infection, known as a pimple. The best way to prevent these kinds of pimples is to wash the face with a salicylic acid product, as it both kills bacteria and helps to slough off dead skin. While it does strip some oil away from the face, it is considerably less drying than other acne applications.

Salicylic acid also fights excess oil on the face. All humans produce oil in glands within the skin, and if too much oil is being produced, the skin will excrete it to the surface, where it makes the face shiny. Sometimes, the oil does not make it to the surface of the skin and is instead trapped in the pore, where, along with dead skin cells, it can become infected and create a pimple. If you have chronic, cystic acne, too much oil production in the skin is probably one of the leading causes.

Unclog Pores with 2% Salicylic Acid for Clear Skin

What especially makes salicylic acid more effective than other acne treatments is the way that it can be absorbed into the skin. For women that have dry or problematic complexions, salicylic acid is the best product on the market to keep your complexion in check. It will help to recapture healthy, calm skin as it cleans away the factors that contribute to acne.

Recently, some cosmetic lines have begun putting salicylic acid into makeup, which can help protect sensitive skin from becoming clogging and blocked by the makeup. These makeups will also be less irritating to sensitive skin and can improve the look of underlying skin as they cover any blemishes or existing pimples.

Salicylic acid can also be added to just about any other skincare product. Oil-free moisturizers containing salicylic acid are perfect for women who have dry skin that is prone to breakouts, as they can receive the moisture they need without worrying about if the excess moisture will block their pores. Women with very sensitive skin should only use salicylic acid in low concentrations.