Salicylic acid can be found in everything from creams to cleansers, moisturisers to masks, but which product is best for you? If you’ve heard about the results you can get from salicylic acid and decided to start using it, it can be overwhelming to decide which product to start with.
Our team at Face Dr have decades of experience working in skincare and helping our clients find the right product for them and their skin. Whether you’re looking to reduce the look of oiliness or clear up acne, salicylic acid may be for you. Here’s our guide to choosing the right product for the job.
If you'd like some assistance with your skincare routine, we offer free online video skincare consultations with our Skin Experts. They will analyse your skin, take your concerns and budget into account and recommend the ideal skincare products for your skin. Book below, or read on to find out more about salicylic acid.
But first, what even is salicylic acid?
What is salicylic acid?
Salicylic acid is derived from Willow tree bark and is a type of beta-hydroxy acid, or BHA. It’s been used in medicine for thousands of years and is particularly useful in skincare when treating acne. It is absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin and breaks down dead skin cells and oils which clog the pores.
What does salicylic acid do for the skin?
By clearing dirt, oil and dead skin cells from the pores, the skin on the surface becomes clearer, blemish free and acne often heals up. Although it’s most often used to clear blemishes and reduce oiliness, you can also find it in treatments for hyperpigmentation, redness and skin conditions like psoriasis.
Salicylic acid can:
- Reduce acne
- Clear up blackheads and whiteheads
- Reduce the look of oil and shine
- Make the complexion brighter and more even
- Reduce redness
- Lighten hyperpigmentation or dark spots
Want some of these results for yourself? Here are the products we’ll cover:
Read on to find out our favourite skincare products which use salicylic acid.
The best salicylic acid products
Best for: All skin types
Price: Get in touch at email@example.com to find out more about ZO pricing
For an easy-to-use salicylic acid product why not try pre-soaked pads. Simply swipe across your face morning and night and they’ll work to unclog pores, clear blemishes and brighten your complexion. ZO Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads contain 2% salicylic acid as well as botanical extracts which soothe the skin and reduce redness, and glycolic acid which helps to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Skin may be more sensitive to the sun after use so be sure to wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure. If you have acne, ZO Skin Health also offer a toning product for excessively oily and acne-prone skin. Take a look at ZO Oil Control Pads here.
Best for: Oily, combination and normal skin types
For a once or twice a week mask treatment, try the iS Clinical Tri-Active Masque. It exfoliates the skin in three different ways with 1.5% salicylic acid, botanical enzymes and eco-friendly microbeads. This combination of physical and chemical exfoliation works to remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil and leave a clear, bright and blemish-free complexion. Massage a small amount into damp skin and leave the mask on for five minutes before rinsing and patting dry.
Best for: Oily skin types
If you’re looking for a salicylic acid product that you can easily add to your daily routine without any extra steps, opt for the Oskia Cleansing Concentrate. You can use this cleanser as your everyday cleanser but, as well as removing make-up and cleaning the skin, it’ll also work to exfoliate, clear pores and reduce oiliness as well as protect the skin from pollution and free radicals.
Salicylic acid and phytic acid unclog the pores while vitamins A, C and E heal and protect the skin. The cleanser also contains eucalyptus and lavender which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to help to soothe irritated skin and rebalance oily complexions.
Best for: Normal, combination and oily skin types
For stubborn acne and blemishes, turn to a stronger treatment with 3% salicylic acid. Bea Acne Treatment Gel is a lightweight gel and spot treatment that’s applied directly to the problem areas. It works to remove oil and dead skin cells with salicylic acid and mandelic acid. Rosehip oil promotes healing and helps to reduce the look of acne scars and aloe vera calms irritated and inflamed skin.
If you’re noticing hyperpigmentation and dark spots, either from acne scarring or from sun exposure, this gel will help lighten the look of discolouration too. After cleansing, apply one pump’s worth of the product to any problem areas.
Best for: Normal, oily, combination and dry skin types
For a deep exfoliation, try a chemical peel. The Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel is gentle enough to use every day but strong enough to see real results. Glycolic, lactic, malic and salicylic acids remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil build-up to unclog the pores and reveal a brighter and more even complexion.
The peel also contains holy basil which is an antioxidant to soothe and calm red and irritated skin. Use at night after cleansing. Apply some product to a cotton pad and swipe over the face. Don’t rinse, leave it on to work its magic. Follow with a serum or moisturiser.
Which salicylic acid product is best?
And there you have it, our five favourite skincare products which use salicylic acid. But which one is the best? That all depends on your skin type and concern.
If you’d like expert guidance on choosing the best product for you, our team of skin experts are on hand with free online skincare consultations. In a 30-minute call, we can analyse your skin, speak about what results you’re looking for and recommend the best product to help. That may be one of these salicylic acid products, or a whole different ingredient altogether.
We only ever recommend brands and products that we’ve seen first-hand results from. There’s never any obligation to buy, but if you do, we can send your new products directly to your door so you can get started with your new skincare routine straight away.