Salicylic acid, otherwise known as Beta Hydroxy Acid, BHA, is known to be an especially effective treatment for oily and acne prone skin types.
Clinically proven as effective as the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's), BHA or salicylic acid, is an exfoliant that improves skin texture, skin tone, and treats acne prone skin.
Similar to glycolic acid, most skin types need to become accustomed gradually to salicylic acid products due to the potential of increased sensitivity and irritation. Make sure to carefully follow the directions on the product label for the best results.
Choose a BHA product with an effective concentration of salicylic acid. Formulations that include 1% to 2% of beta hydroxy acid are the strengths recommended for home use.
Higher concentrations of a BHA product should only be utilized under the supervision
of a medical or licensed skin care professional.
Like other acid-based skin treatments, salicylic acid products work by causing the cells of the epidermis to slough off more readily, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth.
Salicylic acid, a plant hormone occurring naturally in the bark of the willow tree as well as in wintergreen leaves, has been studied extensively for over two centuries in various medical applications. In fact, many considered it one of the most essential medical ingredients available.
“Salicylic acid belongs to a class of medications known as keratolytic agents, and is derived from sources like the bark of the white willow,” explains Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist. “It’s chemically similar to the active component in aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). As such, it has anti-inflammatory properties that both heal and soothe the skin.”
Dermatologists use forms of BHA to treat:
Salicylic acid is also used in chemical peels to deeply penetrate the skin, stimulating cell renewal and collagen production.
A salicylic acid chemical peel can gently remove the upper layers of your skin’s surface. New skin will grow in its place, and that new skin will be firmer and smoother, with fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes.
Like other acids, salicylic acid products react with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties that hold the dead skin cells together on the top layer of the skin.
This allows the dead cells to be exfoliated, exposing live skin cells which begins the process of stimulating cell renewal and restoring skin health.
Salicylic acid comes in several formats, including:
The FDA along with the
Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel concluded that clinical studies of products
containing salicylic acid are safe for use by consumers if: