Salicylic acid occurs naturally in Willow Trees and Wintergreen Trees. It is used traditionally as an anti-fungal agent for the treatment of warts and corns. For the treatment of acne, Salicylic acid doesn’t help much in killing those acne-causing bacteria. Salicylic acid only helps in exfoliating the skin. Exfoliation makes the skin peel at a faster rate which unblocks the pores of the skin. Open pores reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria by starving them with trapped sebum. Since salicylic is oil soluble, it can penetrate deeper into the skin compared to Alpha-Hydroxy Acids. This makes Salicylic acid more effective in treating oily skin with lots of whiteheads, blackheads, and acne breakouts. For people with dry skin, Salicylic is not recommended not unless you use a good moisturizer like Panthenol or Hyaluronic acid. Salicylic acid usually makes your skin dry 2 to 3 days after initial application; it is then followed by mild to moderate peeling of the skin. After the peeling or shedding of the skin is completed, a smoother and younger skin is fully exposed
Precautions and Side Effects:
Do not use salicylic acid without consulting your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during acne treatment. This acne medication is not intended to be used on children.
Topical salicylic acid may produce burning sensation after application especially at higher concentrations. Some may experience redness, swelling, itching, and sun sensitivity. Higher concentrations may burn the skin.
Beta-Hydroxy Acid works best at concentrations of 1% to 2% with an acidity level of pH 3. As the pH increases or their acidity decreases, the effectivity of beta-hydroxy acids decline.
Salicylic acid is available in cream, lotion, gel, and topical solution form at 0.51% to 3% concentration. Salicylic acid works best in concentrations of 1 to 2%.