Beta hydroxy acid also know as salicylic acid is the main ingredient in many top acne treatment products. Salicylic acid is also contained in home remedies for acne such as strawberries, aspirin, and willow bark.
Acne remedies with salicylic acid in them work on many levels to keep acne from coming back. It acts as an exfoliate by loosening up pore clogging dead skin cells making them easier to flush away. After prolonged use salicylic acid will also reduce redness, get rid of blackheads and white heads, and fade dark spots. A downside to using salicylic acid is that it does not kill p. acnes an acne causing bacteria. So while it will get rid of some of the surface problems that may be causing your acne; it doesn’t get rid of everything. For people with moderate to severe acne, or with some problem pimples that just won’t go away salicylic acid should only be used to enhance a skin care routine. Use it after applying a gentle cleanser and before applying an acne treatment like tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide.
Salicylic acid makes the skin sensitive to the sun. After using a salicylic acid treatment your skin becomes fifty percent more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays. To avoid overexposure to the sun apply a moisturizer that won’t clog your pores and has at least SPF 30 in it after using a salicylic acid treatment.
Don’t forget to apply at least SPF 30 to the rest of your skin not just your face if you use salicylic acid as a body wash. Wear a hat to cover your face and neck when you will be exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time. Apply salicylic acid at night to avoid overexposure to the sun altogether. Be sure to check the label on the cleanser you are using for willow bark especially if it is one that contains primarily natural ingredients. Willow bark is a natural ingredient that is packed full of salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid leaves the skin weaker to harsh acne treatments.
Unless your doctor says otherwise after applying salicylic acid do not use alcohol on your face, any medicated products such as ones that contain benzoyl peroxide and retinoid creams, rough face soaps or cleansers, rough exfoliates, or anything that peels the skin. This means do not use salicylic acid peels either. They may be good for a quick fix, but they can cause irreparable long term damage to your skin.
Removing the upper layer of skin does have an up side. It allows acne treatments such as tea tree oil and bezoyl peroxide penetrate into the skin more deeply making them more effective on pimples and blackheads. When using anything with salicylic acid on the face avoid sensitive areas like the eyebrows, eyes, and keep it about a half an inch away from your mouth. Talk to your dermatologist to find out what you can and cannot use salicylic acid with. Always consult your dermatologist before using acne products or home acne remedies.
Most salicylic acne remedies have a higher concentration of salicylic acid than the usually two percent concentration you find in the store. Using most salicylic acid remedies more than twice a week will not only cause the skin to dry out but it will also cause your skin to grow tolerant to the salicylic acid.