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S A L I C Y L I C   A C I D 

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Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), a category of acids named for its molecular structure. It's naturally derived from the bark of the willow tree, or salix trees. It's a powerhouse acid in skincare due to its exfoliating, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and skin penetrating properties that battle breakouts and congestion.

How it Works

Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble BHA, meaning it penetrates deep into the pores, breaking up dead skin cells and clearing congestion. Because it can penetrate so deep it also acts as an anti-inflammatory.

What does salicylic acid do for the skin? 

1. It's a great exfoliator

BHAs are used for exfoliation. BHAs are similar to AHAs, they are used for chemical exfoliation. This type of exfoliation is considered a chemical exfoliant and don't have any granules like a physical exfoliant or scrub. Chemical exfoliants, like salicylic acid gently dissolve dead skin cells, which can keep your complexion looking more youthful and radiant over time. 

2. It may help reduce inflammation

Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory and skin-calming properties. This acid is gentle enough for most sensitive skin and those who have  prone to redness and or rosacea.  

3. It's great for acne

Salicylic acid and acne is a  perfect couple. 

4. It's like a vacuum for the pores

Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and is able to penetrate deeper into the pores compared to AHAs.  It can even penetrate deep into the pores to help remove dirt, oil, and excess sebum. 

Who should use it? 

Salicylic acid is best for oily and acne-prone skin types. It's also a great option for those with hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and generally congested skin.

It is a bit drying, so very dry or sensitive skin should use  salicylic acid cleansers that are formulated with hydrating ingredients.  These cleansers also formulate the acid at a much lower concentration than a leave-on product, so they tend to be much gentler on the skin.

Are there any side effects? 

Salicylic acid is pretty tolerable, but can be drying.  Its main benefit is sucking up excess oil, so if you don't have excess oil to begin with, you'll just find your skin to be tight, dry, and even slightly irritated. 

In most cases, products will advise you to use one to two times a day. However, if you find that your skin is feeling uncomfortably dry, flaky, or even irritated, reduce usage to once a day or once every other day until you've built up a tolerance. 

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