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Let’s throw some light on salicylic acid through this post! Let’s know what it is, what it does, how it works, its pros and cons and how it can or cannot cure acne. If you want to know more, then just keep on reading.
What is Salicylic Acid?
Commercial Salicylic acid or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is a compound which is created in a lab. Salicylic acid has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. BHA is a gentle acid and is a popular ingredient in skincare products, specifically ones marketed to remedy acne.
Pros of Salicylic Acid:
1. It unclogs pores and eliminates whiteheads and blackheads.
2. It doesn’t make the skin photosensitive like many other chemical exfoliants.
3. Salicylic acid products reduce pigmentation because it inhibits melanin formation.
4. Salicylic acid soothes skin which is affected by redness and irritation.
5. Sustained use can prevent breakouts from forming in the first place and can also do wonders for treating acne.
6. Salicylic acid increases the production of collagen. It also makes the skin to look less flaccid
Cons of Salicylic Acid:
1. If you are prone to sensitive skin, ensure that your BHA infused product is specifically designed to be gentle and non-abrasive.
2. Skin reactions such as peeling/burning/dry/reddened skin may occur, especially at the start of treatment.
3. It is possible to over exfoliate the skin with any exfoliating product, so pay attention to your skin for signs of over exfoliation like irritation, dryness, tightness, or flakiness.
4. Women with extremely dry skin may experience irritation and discomfort upon application of BHA products.
How it Cures Acne?
1. Acne care products may contain as much as 30% alpha-hydroxy acids, but the same action is achieved by 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid.
2. Salicylic acid is most effective only if applied continually even after the acne has cleared. In the absence of the exfoliating and cleansing effects of salicylic acid, the pores can clog again resulting in the return of acne.
3. The exfoliating effect of the acid helps to enhance the efficacy of other active ingredients found in skin care products.
4. Salicylic acid increases cell turnover. This makes the skin grow faster, opening up pores which means lesser dirt and cleaner looking skin.
5. It also increases collagen production which is crucial to maintain the elasticity of the skin.
6. Too much salicylic acid can burn the skin. Too little salicylic acid won’t open pores. Most products that work provide 1% to 3% of this ingredient, possibly as little as 0.5%, but never more than 3% (unless treating warts). So choose your products wisely.
7. Salicylic acid is best effective if used in gel form that stays on the skin for at least 15-20 minutes so, salicylic acid as face wash is a waste of money. Use it in the form of serums or moisturizers.
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