Is Salicylic Acid Safe for Face?


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Salicylic acid is one of the most common ingredient in skin care products. It’s commonly found in the bark of willow trees. Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory substance which is quite similar to aspirin. Salicylic acid is one of the most beneficial ingredients for oily skin and acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid penetrates oily skin and clears clogged pores. It also reduces sebum secretion and clears skin deeply. In case you are suffering from stubborn marks, salicylic acid helps them clear up too. Salicylic acid is a zit killer, you should always look out for salicylic acid based products if you have skin that is prone to pimples. In this post, we will answer the question, Is Salicylic Acid Safe for Face?

Salicylic Acid Safe for Face

How Much Salicylic Acid can you Apply on your Skin?

Salicylic acid when commonly found in most of the cremes and gels. This is also found in face wash as well, but you cannot use more than 2% of salicylic acid on your skin. If you are buying salicylic acid from over the counter, do not pick anything that exceeds 2% concentration. And it is also important to check the pH level. In case the PH level goes higher, then it will react on human skin and if the pH level is lower, then it will prove to be of no use.

Other than this, the amount of salicylic acid to be used depends on your health conditions and your age. Of course your skin condition is also very important to determine the amount of salicylic acid to be used on the skin. In case you have sensitive skin, double check the ingredients list, salicylic acid can react negatively on your face. You can go for a patch test before using it on the whole face. Salicylic acid is also safe to be used by different skin types. What you should remember is that to go for a patch test before you use salicylic acid.

Side Effects of using Salicylic Acid on your Skin:

Salicylic acid also have some side effects. Some major side effects which salicylic acid can cause to your skin and face are listed below:

  • Sunburn – Overuse of salicylic acid can cause sunburns. Regular usage of salicylic acid can make your skin sensitive to sun. Without proper sun protection, over exposure to sun can cause dark spots, solar lentigines, and hyperpigmentation. Sunburn is one of the most common side effects for people who are using BHA (beta hydroxy acids) skin care products. Remember to use strong sunscreens with broad spectrum protection.
  • Dry and dehydrated skin – Salicylic acid has exfoliating and peeling properties and thus can cause excessive dehydration on your skin. It can make your skin dry and parched.
  • Oily skin – salicylic acid can also react with your skin in an opposite way. Because of excessive dryness, your skin can secrete more oil.

Precautions To Take When Using Salicylic Acid on Skin:

Salicylic acid is a strong product. It has the property to break down easily. Thus, salicylic acid can react to your skin quite easily and can increase the risk of chemical reaction on your skin if you are using other exfoliating agents in your skincare routine. If you are using salicylic acid in the morning, you should switch glycolic acid in the evening routine. In case you have diabetes, liver or kidney disease, then salicylic acid should not be used at all. This can further complicate your health conditions. Also, it is best to wash away salicylic acid within 4-5 hours of usage.

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