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salicylic acid

Everything you need to know about Salicylic Acid

With so many acid products on the market today, it can be tricky to know which is the best one for you, so here’s everything you need to know about salicylic acid to help you decide if this is the one for you!

How does salicylic acid work?

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, unlike other popular acids like glycolic and lactic acids, which are alpha-hydroxy acids. The main difference between these two types of acid is that BHAs are capable of breaking down oil. AHAs work on the surface of the skin but they cannot penetrate deeply because they are stopped by sebum. This doesn’t get in salicylic acid’s way though; it penetrates the skin and gets to work. Once in the skin, salicylic breaks down the glue that holds skin cells together, and causes deep exfoliation of the top layers of the skin, to unclog pores and leave the skin extremely clean. Salicylic acid is so effective that it can even dissolve pore blockages.

Who is it for?

The powerful oil dissolving qualities of salicylic acid makes it ideal for anyone with blocked pores, frequent breakouts or acne. You’ll find salicylic acid in toners, serums, moisturisers and masks formulated for spot-prone skin. Spots are caused by blocked pores becoming infected by bacteria, so by dissolving the oil and dead skin that is trapped in the pore, salicylic acid removes the cause.

Tips and tricks for Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a very powerful exfoliator, so tread carefully. Don’t pick a strong product right away and expect it to work faster than a weaker product because you risk redness, excessive peeling and irritation. Start out gently and let your skin build up to stronger products!

Remember that hydration is important when you’re using a chemical exfoliator. Make sure you drink plenty of water and use skincare products that contain hyaluronic acid to prevent your skin from becoming dehydrated.

If you’re suffering from hormonal breakouts you might find that an occasional product like a mask is the best choice, while if you’re struggling with acne or chronically spotty skin, you might want to look at using a moisturiser or serum with this magical, spot-clearing ingredient.

Image:istock.com/Milkos

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