Salicylic acid is the “gold standard” for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and excess oil – and is found naturally in willow bark, vegetables, and fruits. Dermatologist Kathleen Viscusi, MD, a popular skincare ingredient, you’ve likely come across it when shopping for acne, blackhead, and acne cleansers. But what is it, and why is it so popular? A beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that can penetrate skin to help remove excess oil and unclog pores, salicylic acid has keratolytic properties that allow it to exfoliate dead skin cells and improve texture and tone. , dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD. . If you are dealing with clogged pores and acne right now, you may be looking for skin care products that contain salicylic acid. To help you find the right option for you, we consulted medical doctors about the benefits and drawbacks of salicylic acid in skin care.

MOVE FORWARD Best salicylic acid products

Benefits of salicylic acid in skin care

While salicylic acid is best known for its ability to treat whiteheads and blackheads, it can also help remove buildup and deposits on the skin caused by psoriasis, warts, calluses, and dandruff. caused, Garshick said. Since salicylic acid can also remove dead skin cells, it increases the effectiveness of your facial moisturizer by allowing it to better penetrate your skin, she adds.

Well-known skin care brands like Neutrogena, CeraVe and Nécessaire have created body washes and scrubs to help those dealing with raised pimples on their backs – commonly known as bacne. You can also use facial products that contain salicylic acid on your body if you want. For example, in our recent guide to the best acne face washes, board-certified dermatologist Erum Ilyas, MD, recommends showering with our salicylic acid cleanser. Neutrogena to help minimize body acne.

Limitations of salicylic acid

If you have sensitive or dry skin, you should take precautions to avoid the three most common side effects associated with salicylic acid: dryness, irritation, and sun sensitivity, says dermatologist Blair Murphy- Rose, MD, of Laser Skin & Surgery. Center of NY.

Salicylic acid can be combined with common ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide if you want to unclog pores and avoid drying out. Pair salicylic acid with benzoyl peroxide, retinol or retinoids like adaptHowever, that can lead to over-exfoliation and further irritation, as well as increased sensitivity to the sun, Garshick notes. If you choose those combos, you’ll need to be especially diligent about using moisturizer to prevent dryness and sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Yes, this is true even if you are working from home – medical doctors recommend applying sunscreen indoors.

Most over-the-counter salicylic acid products, whether for face or body, are typically formulated with a 2% concentration of the ingredient, while hair treatments like dry scalp shampoos are often Produced at a concentration of 6%, Murphy-Rose added. If you want products with a higher concentration of salicylic acid, you can try facial peels at home or in your doctor’s office.

Best salicylic acid products

We’ve learned from previous breakouts that you need to stick with your skin care routine to see results, and salicylic acid products are no different. You may notice some improvement in just a few days, but the most significant results should appear in about four weeks, notes Murphy-Rose.

So, salicylic acid skin care products are available at Shop readers’ favorite retailers like Walmart, Sephora, and Amazon. You can also find these anti-acne products at Target, Ulta, and Dermstore. To help you sort through the multitude of salicylic acid facial products, we’ve rounded up 10 expert-recommended products, from cleansers and toners to spot treatments and serums. .

Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Cleanser

This “classic” skin care product received a recommendation from Garshick because it is made with a 2% concentration of salicylic acid. She recommends washing your face and body with this oil-free face wash no more than twice daily to help reduce blackheads and acne, and prevent new breakouts from forming. Neutrogena’s Facial Cleanser received an average rating of 4.7 stars from 4,880 reviews on Amazon.

First Aid Beauty Spot Treatment Acne Spot Treatment

First Aid Beauty makes an “amazing” salicylic acid spot treatment that targets acne, blackheads, and whiteheads and is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin, according to Garshick. In addition to salicylic acid, it also contains glycolic acid, a common alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), plus fruit enzymes She notes that helps reduce discoloration. While you can dab it on pimples up to three times a day, Garshick recommends starting with one or two applications per day and increasing the frequency only if necessary. This Clean at Sephora acne product received an average rating of 4.4 stars from over 40 reviews on Sephora.

St. Ives Acne Control Tea Tree Cleanser

Combination of salicylic acid and Tea tree oil Garshick says: As a bonus, St. Ives claims this non-comedogenic and paraben-free formula is stored in a 100% recycled bottle. This acne cleanser received an average rating of 4.2 stars from nearly 290 reviews on Amazon.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Micro-Exfoliating Astringent

Viscusi calls this her “favorite” salicylic acid product in the pharmacy and notes that it “mildly and instantly” unclogs and unclogs pores for a visibly glowing complexion. La Roche Posay toners receive an average rating of 4.6 stars from more than 1,870 reviews on Amazon. Plus, the brand claims this fragrance-free product is oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores.

SkinMedica AHA / BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Viscusi is a fan of SkinMedica’s salicylic acid cleansers and creams – they contain fruit enzymes, tocopheryl acetate and panthenol (provitamin B5), protects against the damaging effects of free radicals as well as soothes, hydrates and replenishes the skin. The cleanser boasts an average rating of 4.7 stars from nearly 1,200 Amazon reviews, and the cream received an average rating of 4.7 stars from nearly 240 Amazon reviews.

Revision Skincare Purifying Cleansing Gel

One of Viscusi’s “right” salicylic acid cleansers, this “ultra-concentrated” formula “deeply cleans pores,” removes oil and impurities, and uses salicylic and lactic acid to remove dead skin cells. According to the brand, it is also made of laurate sucrose, a cleansing agent that does not strip moisture. This cleanser received an average rating of 4.8 stars from nearly 90 reviews on Amazon.

Exuviance Pore Cleansing Foam

Exuviance has created a “very effective yet gentle” exfoliating salicylic acid cleanser that can treat and prevent acne, according to Murphy-Rose. It also has features mandelic acid, one of her favorite ingredients to help promote cell turnover and collagen production. Exuviance’s Toner Pads received an average rating of 4.4 stars from nearly 110 reviews on Ulta.

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum

Drunk Elephant is a popular Clean at Sephora brand, and its TLC Framboos serum boasts a combination of pore-clearing salicylic and glycolic acid, which is why it was introduced by Murphy-Rose. The raspberry extract This serum offers many skin benefits, she adds, including clearing pores, soothing skin, and targeting fine lines. It received an average rating of 4.3 stars from more than 3,040 reviews on Sephora.

Toner pads shed light on humanity

They’re also made with rich antioxidants, says Garshick green tea extract, which helps soothe your skin and soothe irritation. Humane’s Clarifying Toner Pads received an average rating of 4.4 stars from 45 reviews on Amazon.

Skinbetter Science AlphaRet Clearing Serum

If you’ve incorporated hydroxy acids into your oily skin care routine in the past and can tolerate a stronger product that doesn’t cause irritation, Murphy-Rose recommends this salicylic acid and retinol serous. “It’s one of the few exceptions to the rule of avoiding the combination of retinol and hydroxy acid products,” she says. As with all salicylic acid products, it’s a good idea to go easy on AlphaRet Clearing Serum – start using it every night and work your way up to nightly use, but only if tolerated, Murphy-Rose advises.

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