Salicylic Acid: What Is It and What Are Its Skin Benefits?

Backed by experts and over-the-counter sales, salicylic acid has become the holy grail ingredient for skin products for breakouts. Salicylic acid can dry stubborn zits and pimples fast, plus it can minimise skin irritation and inflammation overnight.

But what exactly is salicylic acid? Is it an ingredient meant for all skin types?

Let’s learn more about this favorite anti-acne ingredient!

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What Is Salicylic Acid and What Does it Do?

Considered as the most popular beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid belongs to the family of oil-soluble acids that help reduce acne and inflammation. Salicylic acid is anti-bacterial and - with the right concentration - dries out pimples and other breakouts, but not the skin.

The reason why salicylic acid is such a favorite anti-breakout product lies in its very build-up. Unlike regular acids, the chemical structure of the salicylic acid makes it oil-soluble - aka it can go deep down the skin’s layers. While other acids do the business on the skin’s surface, salicylic acid strikes far beyond the exterior - way down to exfoliate, unclog pores of dirt and sebum, and eliminate breakout-causing dead skin cells.

Salicylic acid - the ingredient that wants to fight off acne and breakouts as seriously as us.


Does it Work for All Skin Types?

Is salicylic acid safe for all skin types? Products with salicylic acid can benefit all skin types, but there’s a little caveat - your skin may be irritated when you’re first starting out, so it’s best to check your skin’s compatibility before going all the way especially if you have dry skin.

Compared to other skin types, salicylic acid works best for oily, acne-prone skin. Its ability to go deep into the skin to seep up oil and sebum can prevent your skin from sporting oil-overdrive.

However, experts suggest that if you already have a strong exfoliating routine (using chemical peels, BHA exfoliants, and subscription exfoliants), you need to minimise the use of salicylic acid. Too much salicylic acid can do two extremes - dry up your face, or cause an excess production of oil.


Salicylic Acid Benefits

The benefits of salicylic acid to the skin goes beyond healing breakouts - it repairs and preps the skin to fight off possible causes of skin issues. To help you know why this acid should be an important part of your skincare routine, we’ve compiled some of the best skin benefits of salicylic acid.

Salicylic Acid Heals Acne and Other Breakouts

Whether you’re trying to heal an acne episode, or simply dealing with a surprise pimple that needs to go before an important event, you can count on salicylic acid to do the job.

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Contains a powerful blend of antiseptic, exfoliating, and moisturising ingredients to help you get rid of breakouts fast. Fights acne and prevents further breakouts. Salicylic Acid accelerates the exfoliation of dead skin cells to smooth the skin, while an Alcohol component works at drying greasy skin.

Acne and breakouts like whiteheads and blackheads occur when hair follicles get trapped with oil and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid penetrates deep into the skin to dissolve sebum, and dead skin cells clogging your pores. This component is also effective in reducing whiteheads and blackheads around the nose and forehead.

Salicylic Acid Prevents Breakouts

Prevention is better a cure - a classic advice that also works with dealing with acne problems. Salicylic acid prevents breakouts before they can even start.


best face products

Enjoy a more effective cleansing routine with this cleanser powered by salicylic acid. A powerful but gentle cleansing formula designed to leave skin feeling fresh, supple, and breakout-free.


Introducing salicylic acid to your routine helps eliminate possible dead skin cells and oil from wreaking havoc to your skin. Its ability unclogs pores fast stops breakouts from event starting. 

Salicylic Acid Exfoliates the Skin

Exfoliation is key to fairer, brighter, clearer skin. Salicylic acid does not just quickly replace dead skin cells with healthier ones, it also encourages the production of elastin and collagen - two components that make the skin younger and plumper.

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This hydrating skin toner removes impurities and exfoliates your skin with its light silky formula. This natural skin care toner penetrates the skin’s surface to clean and close pores, its watery texture absorbs instantly into the skin’s surface.


Salicylic acid also acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial acid that helps prevent skin flare ups and infection.

Salicylic Acid Prevents Extreme Oiliness

There’s a build-up of sebum right under the skin’s surface that’s waiting to reveal itself. If you’re not a fan of oily skin, add salicylic acid to your beauty must-haves.


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This alcohol-free mattifying toner with an immediate matte effect clarifies your skin, removes excess sebum and refines the pores. Leaves your skin fresh and oil-free.


This acid is potent enough to go into the source of sebum, eliminating excess oil before it shows up on your face.

Salicylic Acid Deep Cleans the Skin

Need some weekend skin detox? Throw in some purifying mask containing salicylic acid. Made to go deep down the skin, this ingredient will help resolve skin issues beyond what you can see on the surface.

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Gives skin a gentle exfoliation while immediately absorbing oil. Makes the skin look renewed, and refreshed.


To rid your face of oil, dirt, and stuff that might cause breakouts, consider incorporating salicylic acid to your weekend beauty routine.


When it comes to exfoliating and detoxifying the skin to prevent and resolve breakouts, salicylic acid means business. When choosing your holy grail products for acne and breakouts, it pays to check the label - make sure salicylic acid is on the list!

How well do you know your face? Find out with our skincare quiz and create a beauty routine perfect for your skin's needs. 

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