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What Is Salicylic Acid and Salicylic Acid Benefits

picture what is salicylic acid and salicylic acid benefits
what is salicylic acid and salicylic acid benefits?

Beta hydroxy acid, or BHA, is an active ingredient that is quite popular in the world of skincare. BHA has many benefits for skin health, including treating acne problems to rejuvenate your skin look.

BHA is a fat-soluble acid often found in various skin care products, such as facial cleansers, micellar water, toners, serums, moisturizers, and face masks.

The concentration of BHA that is often used in skincare products ranges from 1−2% salicylic acid.

What Is Salicylic Acid and Salicylic Acid Benefits

Talking about salicylic acid means talking about acids that work to exfoliate your skin. Therefore, knowing about the groups of acids that are often used in exfoliation products is pretty important.


The acid group often used as one of the skincare active ingredients for skin exfoliation is Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA and Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA.

Both ingredients are even known as skincare's holy grail for many people. However, the two active ingredients have different molecular structures: AHA is water soluble, while BHA is oil soluble.

Acids that fall into the AHA group include lactic acid, glycolic acid, and citric acid. Meanwhile, salicylic acid is the only acid in the BHA group.

What Is Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a natural active ingredient found in willow bark. The active ingredient is Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) which is oil soluble and can penetrate deeper into the skin.

In addition, Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory, exfoliant, and antibacterial properties, making it effective in treating and preventing acne.

What Is Salicylic Acid Used For

In its development, Salicylic acid became one of the most widely recommended BHA by dermatologists for treating acne.

This is because of the oil-soluble nature of BHA, making this acid able to work by deep penetrating into the skin layer and breakdown the oil that clogs or fills the pores.

BHA goes deep into the pores to exfoliate and clean dead skin cells. It also helps to regulate your sebum production.

Not only that, but salicylic acid helps clean dirt, dust, oil, and pollution particles that clog pores.

In addition, salicylic acid is one of the most effective active ingredients in dealing with black and whiteheads. Salicylic acid can directly clean pores and help regenerate skin cells.

Because of this ability, BHA is highly recommended to use by those with oily and acne-prone skin, although it can also be used by other types of facial skin. 

With regular use, your facial skin conditions will improve naturally. Salicylic acid contains a larger molecular size than other acid types. Therefore, it will feel soft when used and less irritate your skin.

Salicylic Acid Benefits

Here are some Salicylic acid benefits for your skin health.

1. Salicylic acid is very effective in helping prevent and treat acne.

As previously explained, Salicylic acid or BHA can penetrate deep into the pores and hair follicles. 

Salicylic acid will work to clean the pores and hair follicles by reducing sebum production, killing bacteria, and getting rid of dead skin cells.

Clean pores will prevent clogging, which is the forerunner of acne. Therefore, a salicylic acid product is proven effective in preventing and treating acne.

2. Maximizing the work of skincare

The exfoliating effect of salicylic acid is very useful in helping other skincare to be perfectly absorbed by the skin so that maximum results can be obtained.

This can happen because if the skin surface has too many dead skin cells or dirt, your skin will have difficulty absorbing the skincare product into the deeper layers of the skin. As a result, the use of skincare has become less effective.

3. Prevents the appearance of comedones and blackheads.

Dead skin cells, sebum, and dirt that clog pores will eventually form comedones. If not treated, the formed comedones will oxidize and become blackheads.

The formation of blackheads will cause your skin to have larger pores and be oilier and unhealthy. The solution to getting rid of stubborn blackheads is to exfoliate using skincare products that contain salicylic acid.

4. Prevent signs of aging

Exfoliating facial skin with BHA products regularly can help increase the natural collagen production in the skin.

Collagen is a natural protein in the body that has a vital role because it maintains skin elasticity and prevents signs of aging on the skin, such as sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

5. Brighten skin

As is known, one of the main functions of BHA is exfoliating the skin. Exfoliating action is beneficial for removing dead skin cells and cleaning oil and dirt on the face.

The dead skin cells that have been removed will then be replaced with new skin cells that are healthier and cleaner. That way, the skin will look brighter.

6. Reduces facial skin inflammation.

One of the benefits of Salicylic acid, which is very important for skin health, is that it can reduce inflammation.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, this BHA can help reduce inflammation problems, especially when facial skin is experiencing breakouts or irritation.

Salicylic Acid Side Effects

When applied directly to the skin, salicylic acid can help the skin shed dead cells from the top layer, reducing inflammation and redness.

This is very useful to help reduce inflammation in acne and prevent breakouts. Therefore, it is not surprising that many beauty products contain this active ingredient because of its excellent benefits for the skin, especially oily and acne-prone skin.

Although it has many benefits, it turns out that some side effects can arise due to allergic reactions and excessive or inappropriate use of salicylic acid. 

Well, here are some of the side effects that may occur:

1. Skin irritation

One of the most commonly reported side effects of using salicylic acid is skin irritation, such as:
  • Peeling skin,
  • Dry skin
  • Burnt,
  • Rashes
These side effects are often complained of, especially at the beginning of treatment or using this active ingredient.

If you've been using salicylic acid for a while, but any of these effects don't subside, it's a good idea to stop using it immediately and check with your doctor.

2. Allergic Reaction

Another side effect of using skincare with salicylic acid is the appearance of an allergic reaction.

Several studies have shown that a person can experience a severe allergic reaction, although cases of allergic responses to salicylic acid are rare.

Some allergic reactions can cause, include:
  • Severe dizziness
  • Itching/swelling
  • Rash,
  • Difficulty breathing.
For severe cases of allergies, the body may experience the following:
  • Severe headache
  • thought disorder.
  • ringing in the ears and hearing problems
  • Severe stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Feeling dizzy as if going to faint.
  • Shortness of breath or heavy breathing
If the above happens, immediately go to the hospital for proper treatment.

These various allergic reactions can generally occur only a few minutes after this active ingredient is applied to the skin, or they can also happen within days after being used.

Therefore, if you experience any of the allergic reactions mentioned above, it is better to immediately stop using the product so that the allergic reaction can be overcome immediately.

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