Acne treatment with salicylic acid still has its pros and cons. Through this article, I explain both opinions. After that, it’s up to you to decide. As soon as inflammation appears on the skin, the hand reaches for a tube labeled “salicylic acid”. Products with salicylic or salicylic acid, which you can buy in the pharmacy, are the most popular remedy for acne. The acne treatment with salicylic acid is popular and, indeed, effective. But there are many disadvantages of salicylic acid, and once you learn about them, you’ll think twice about whether you want to use it.
The first thing you need to know about salicylic acid is that: in nature, it is a crystalline powder like salt. To add salicylic acid to cosmetics, chemists mix it with alcohol.
Does Acne Treatment With Salicylic Acid Work?
Salicylic acid is effective against acne. But how does acne treatment with salicylic acid work? First, it softens the stratum corneum of the skin and exfoliates dead cells where the microbes that cause acne multiply. Second, thanks to the antimicrobial properties of salicylic acid, it disinfects the skin, preventing the spread of infection. Third, it “dries” inflammation, instantly improving the appearance of the skin. Finally, it dissolves small comedones and black spots that can develop into acne.
Besides acne treatment with salicylic acid, here are the four skin problems that salicylic acid helps with:
- Black spots, comedones, blackheads – salicylic acid dissolves keratinized skin layer, reduces inflammation, and triggers the renewal process.
- Dermatitis, psoriasis, seborrhea – salicylic acid reduces itching and peeling, alleviating the disease.
- Post-acne – salicylic acid helps to smooth the skin, reduce the depth of post-acne scars and gradually smooth out scars.
- Age-related skin changes – salicylic acid whitens age spots, evens skin tone, and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles.
Useful properties of salicylic acid for facial skin:
- Kills acne-causing bacteria,
- Faster healing of minor skin injuries,
- Soothes inflammation,
- Starts skin regeneration and rejuvenation process,
- Removes dead skin cells,
- Regulates sebum (sebum) secretion
- It Whitens the skin.
How Do I Use Salicylic Acid Properly To Treat Acne?
Most products with salicylic acid dry the skin. We need this acne treatment with salicylic acid if the skin is oily and prone to acne. But in reality, it can cause the opposite reaction: skin will respond to a dry feeling by excessive sebum production, and we will rush to wash everything off again with a salicylic acid product. This will create a vicious circle. In this vicious circle, our skin will always be either dry and tight or shiny and irritated.
To avoid getting into a vicious circle of continuous washing and bad skin, you need to:
- First, use salicylic acid in the right concentration and the right number of times;
- Secondly, to balance the drying effect of salicylic acid with proper hydration, only some products can be combined with salicylic acid.
How to properly prepare the skin for acne treatment with salicylic acid?
- Salicylic acid alcohol solution can be wiped over the skin 2-3 times a day, but for up to one week. For example, if the concentration of the solution is 2%, adults can use 10 ml per day, and children – 1 ml.
- Salicylic acid at a concentration of 0.5% or less has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This is the safest concentration possible; the acid in this concentration can be used as a natural preservative.
- Salicylic acid in concentrations of 0.5% to 2% works as a facial peel-it is the perfect balance between efficacy and safety. Therefore, this is the amount that is usually added to cosmetics.
- 3% salicylic acid can be used against inflammation in the body by spot application.
- Salicylic acid 3-9% concentration has keratolytic properties and is used to exfoliate keratinized cells. In addition, it is effective against calluses and corns.
- Salicylic acid in higher concentrations is sold only with a prescription. It is dispensed by prescription and is not used to treat acne.
How Else Can Salicylic Acid Be Used?
Salicylic acid is believed to reduce the activity of sweat glands. A folk recipe suggests wiping underarms with salicylic acid before applying antiperspirant. This can be effective, but there is a risk of allergic reactions or inflammation because the underarms are sensitive. But with hyperhidrosis of the feet, salicylic acid is effective.
For additional information about acne treatment with salicylic acid you can read: Doctors recommend the best salicylic acid products for acne.
The Dangers Of Salicylic Acid
In addition to the several benefits of acne treatment with salicylic acid, some disadvantages can also occur.
The seemingly harmless and so familiar salicylic acid has contraindications and quite serious ones. It can cause inflammation and suppress immunity and gastrointestinal side effects.
- Salicylic acid enhances the medicinal effect of methotrexate (an anti-methotrexate drug and immunosuppressor),
- Drugs to control glucose levels (sulfate urea derivatives).
- Salicylic acid should not be combined with resorcinol, which is used to treat some skin diseases – together, they form melting mixtures.
- Salicylic acid cannot be combined with zinc oxide, often used in cosmetics.
- Salicylic acid is not recommended for skin conditions with watery inflammation: it is absorbed into the blood more quickly and can cause gastrointestinal side effects.
- Salicylic acid is categorically not recommended to apply to moles and warts. Folk recipes often suggest salicylic acid as a treatment for moles, papillomas, and warts – but acid use can cause burns, infection, leave a scar, or even provoke skin cancer.
- Using salicylic acid too often can make it worse, not less, and can cause dry, tight skin.
- Salicylic acid can cause redness, irritation, and itching – this is not a normal reaction. You should immediately change care and consult a doctor in case of such side effects.
- Combination with other acids can cause skin burns.
- Salicylic acid is contraindicated in pregnant women.
- Salicylic acid should not be used on children under 12. Older children can use salicylic acid in a lower concentration and only in one area at a time.
From all of the above, the clever use of salicylic acid for acne gives tangible results, thanks to this agent’s exfoliating, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Regular acne treatment with salicylic acid and considering the peculiarities of a particular skin type will eliminate acne for a long time – so say reviews of salicylic acid from acne. Well, it is possible to check the remedy’s effectiveness only through personal experience. If you choose a home remedy for acne problems, you can use honey and cinnamon: Honey And Cinnamon Help Acne: A Proven Home Remedy Recipe.