Everyone’s talking about salicylic acid but why? Actually, salicylic acid can penetrate deep into the skin and work its magic. It is precisely this quality that makes it a very effective ingredient in fighting acne, especially blackheads and whiteheads. Scroll below for more!


Salicylic acid is a crucial component to remove excess oil currently and lower oil levels going forward if you have oily skin. Salicylic acid exfoliates your pore lining and reduces oil buildup because it is oil-soluble. Why is this important? Salicylic acid can go deep inside your pores to remove excess oil and dead skin, unlike other chemicals that can simply remove the surface of your pores. Salicylic acid not only effectively deep cleans skin, but it also prevents sebocytes from overproducing natural oil on the skin (sebocytes are skin cells that create sebum).


As a comedolytic, salicylic acid stops the development of new whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads and blackheads won’t form from excess oil or dead skin cells nesting in your skin if your pores are kept clear. By the way, comedolytics also include azelaic acid and benzoyl peroxide.


Peeling agents like salicylic acid remove dead skin cells and hasten skin cell renewal. Salicylic acid is a desmolytic, which means that it breaks the connections that hold corneocytes—the cells that make up the top layer of the skin—together. Salicylic acid, a desmolytic, is a milder exfoliator than the keratolytics azelaic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Keratolytics offer a deeper exfoliation but could irritate delicate skin more. All three components are comedolytic, which means they open up pores and stop the growth of new whiteheads and blackheads.


Willow bark naturally includes salicylic acid, which also contains the compound salicin. Salicin, which is related to aspirin, has anti-inflammatory qualities that soothe sensitive, inflamed skin. This translates to lessened redness, soreness, and puffiness associated with acne. Salicylic acid is also a popular topical treatment for psoriasis inflammation.


Oxygen does not like acne germs (the reason why it thrives under clogged pores where no fresh air blows). Salicylic acid clears and exfoliates pores, allowing fresh air to enter the skin and fostering an environment that is more oxygen-rich and less conducive to the growth of acne-causing bacteria. It’s crucial to remember, though, that salicylic acid can only inhibit acne-causing bacteria; it cannot eradicate it.