Any skincare lover has probably heard about salicylic acid. As the most common form of beta-hydroxy acid (or BHA), tons of anti-acne skincare lines incorporate this ingredient into their formulas. But because it's an "acid," it can be a bit scary to incorporate it into your routine at first. It couldn't be easier, though! To help you out, we collected the best tips and products for this pore-clearing miracle below!
What is salicylic acid?
Taken from the bark of a willow tree, salicylic acid helps clean and exfoliate deep inside your pores by breaking down dead skin cells and oil, reducing sebum in the process. It also helps reduce acne inflammation, and its antibacterial properties are proven to prevent acne, especially in the form of whiteheads and blackheads.
While its usage provides aid for oily and acne prone skin (although all skin types may benefit from using it), because it's an acid, there are some "rules" to follow for its usage. For example, it's true that you can use too much salicylic acid, which is why it’s typically recommended to be used twice or thrice a week, depending on the concentration or percentage.
What can I use salicylic acid with?
Moisturizing and hydrating your skin while using salicylic acid is a must to prevent dryness and irritation. If you'll be including it in your routine, make sure to pair it with other soothing, hydrating products, such as essences, serums, and creams. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide help with replenishing the skin from the effects of using salicylic acid as an exfoliant. And, obviously, religiously applying sunscreen is an essential step!
What should I not use with salicylic acid?
Over-exfoliating, even with a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid, is more common than you think. Whether it be using it at a high percentage too frequently, or mixing it with other no-no ingredients, too much salicylic acid can lead to disaster if not used carefully. Avoid using retinoids, vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide at the same time as salicylic acid in your routine, unless it's recommended by your dermatologist.
How do I incorporate salicylic acid in my routine?
Start slow! Try using a salicylic acid product once a week, and then build it up as your skin gets used to the chemical. You can also start with a salicylic acid cleanser, since it won't stay on your skin for that long. Unless the product you're using has a relatively low percentage, don't use salicylic acid daily to avoid damaging your skin.
Ready to reap the benefits of salicylic acid? Here are 10 salicylic acid-infused products you can incorporate into your routine!
10 Salicylic Acid Products to Target Your Acne Problems
1. Face Republic Calming Acne Salicylic Cleanser
This cleanser from Face Republic has a mild pH, green tea extract, and centella asiatica extract to help soothe the skin while the salicylic acid works on your acne problems.
Calming Acne Salicylic Cleanser, P499, now P449, FACE REPUBLIC, Lazada
2. AXIS-Y Daily Purifying Treatment Toner
AXIS-Y’s treatment toner has 0.5% salicylic acid, which makes it milder and more beginner-friendly compared to other salicylic acid toners. It also contains houttuynia cordata extract to help detoxify and reduce skin inflammation.
Daily Purifying Treatment Toner, P1100,, AXIS-Y, Lazada
3. L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence
This lightweight essence is formulated with micro-droplets technology to penetrate as deeply as 10 layers into the skin for maximum oil reduction and minimized pores!
Paris Revitalift Micro Essence, P1399, L’OREAL, Watsons
4. Dr. Sensitive Niacinamide 5% + Salicylic Acid Serum
The combination of niacinamide and salicylic acid in this serum from Dr. Sensitive can deliver exfoliation, brightening, and skin barrier repair at once. Talk about a power duo!
Niacinamide 5% + Salicylic Acid Serum, P90, DR. SENSITIVE, Lazada
5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum
This serum from La-Roche Posay contains not only salicylic acid, but also glycolic acid and LHA, which is a salicylic acid derivative. It’s meant to target visible pores, acne marks, and signs of aging, which makes it great for mature skin, too!
Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum, P2633, LA ROCHE-POSAY, Zalora
6. Ellana Calm Down AHA/BHA Acne Spot Gel
For a more concentrated form of exfoliation, Ellana’s acne spot gel contains salicylic acid, plant-derived AHAs, and other natural extracts to help soothe, brighten, and encourage a speedy process of acne healing.
Calm Down AHA/BHA Acne Spot Gel, P349, ELLANA, Lazada
7. Nacific Origin Red Salicylic Acid Mask Pack
Nacific’s Origin Red Salicylic Acid line includes this sheet mask with panthenol to hydrate and moisturize the skin, and cynanchum atratum extract for skin barrier strengthening. A great addition to your weekly pamper day routine!
Origin Red Salicylic Acid Mask Pack, P129, NACIFIC, Lazada
8. Good Molecules BHA Clarify Gel Cream
This gel cream doubles as a spot treatment and hydrator, with grapeseed and pomegranate oils to provide hydration without clogging pores.
BHA Clarify Gel Cream, P625, GOOD MOLECULES, Lazada
9. The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment
Salicylic acid for the hair? Yes, that’s right! This scalp treatment helps remove excess oil and flakes to prevent itchiness and irritation. Perfect for the hot summer months ahead!
Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, P870, THE INKEY LIST, Sephora
10. Luxe Organix Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid Shower Cream
What works for the face can work for the body, too! This shower cream from Luxe Organix helps target body acne and dark spots to even out your overall complexion.
Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid Shower Cream, P299, LUXE ORGANIX, Watsons
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