July 05, 2017

Salicylic acid is one of the best skincare ingredients for acne and oily skin. Chemically similar to aspirin, it is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) found in the bark of the willow tree and is derived naturally from salicin. (Salicin is anti-inflammatory agent produced from willow bark.) But what exactly does this acne treatment do? And why is it so useful in the battle against blemishes and oily skin? We reveal all below. skincare for acne - salicylic acid

Exfoliates Skin

Salicylic acid can break down the intercellular 'glue' that holds skin cells together, which in turn helps with the exfoliation process. This acne treatment is commonly considered a keratolytic medication, meaning that it's ideal for optimal exfoliation. By loosening the 'glue' holding cells together, the top layer of skin cells are softened and easily sloughed off to reveal fresher skin.

Treats Pores

What's more, salicylic can both unclog congested pores as well as shrink large pores. As it is oil soluble, it can easily penetrate into the skin's pores to provide a thoroughly deep cleanse; dissolving debris, oil and dead skin cells. This, in turn, prevents blackheads and whiteheads from forming. What's more, salicylic acid can tighten the skin and control sebum production to reduce large pores. This BHA is an astringent, which means it causes the contraction of skin cells to minimise large pores for a smoother complexion.


Salicylic Acid has both long-term and short-term improvements. It is an anti-inflammatory meaning it can reduce redness and inflammation caused by acne, soothing angry red spots for a clearer complexion. So it doesn't just help treat blackheads and whiteheads, it also helps with the appearance of them too.

Take Note

Although we love this ingredient, there are some things you should keep in mind:
  • It's not ideal for those with very dry skin as it can dry out the skin. If you do have dry skin but get the odd blemish, you do have a few options. You can either combine it with hydrating ingredients. Prepping your skin with products including aloe vera or if you have combination skin, such as an oily skin tone, only apply salicylic acid products to those target areas.
  • If you have sensitive skin, we do not recommend using salicylic acid. People with sensitive skin should avoid products with salicylic acid or use naturally occurring salicylic acid found in fruits.
  • Salicylic acid can make your skin sun sensitive, so be sure to wear a broad-spectrum UV protection SPF sunscreen.
  • If you're unsure about using salicylic acid, consult your dermatologist or skin health professional.

Favourite Salicylic Acid Products

Check out some of our top acne treatments and oily skin care products that include 1-2% concentration of Salicylic acid for glowing skin. Shop skincare for acne. Shop skincare for oily skin. Read up on all our favourite skincare ingredients.

Also in Blog

What Methods Can I Use to Brighten up My Dull Skin?
What Methods Can I Use to Brighten up My Dull Skin?

September 09, 2020

Your skin constantly sheds dead skin cells, but if the process isn't working correctly then you may get dull skin. Here's how you can brighten up dull skin.

Read More

How You Can Heal Sun Damaged Skin During the Hot Summer Months
How You Can Heal Sun Damaged Skin During the Hot Summer Months

August 11, 2020

Are you planning to spend extended periods of time in the hot summer sun? Here's how you can heal sun damaged skin during the hot summer months.

Read More

What Type of Acne Treatment Is Right for Your Skin Complexion?
What Type of Acne Treatment Is Right for Your Skin Complexion?

August 07, 2020

How much time do you spend bending over a mirror poking at spots on your face? Do you feel like you have to hide behind layers of concealer, foundation, and colour-correcting cream? Have you given up hope that you’ll be able to find the right skincare routine for you?

Finding the right acne treatment is possible, and knowing your skin type can help. Read on to discover what you need to be doing to take care of your skin type and how you can even fix old scars leftover from previous bouts of acne.

Read More