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  5. Why Are Salicylic Acid Cleansers So Popular For Acne-Prone Skin?

Are you someone who puts in extra effort to take care of your acne-prone skin? Acne-prone skin requires a mild cleanser that controls breakouts. Salicylic acid is that super ingredient in cleansers that fights acne.

 What Is Salicylic Acid Cleanser?

Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) [1]. It is derived from willow tree, wintergreen oil or sweet birch and occurs naturally in fruits like raspberries.

How Does Salicylic Acid Cleanser Work?

Salicylic acid not only removes impurities at the surface level of the skin, but also clears clogged pores. It targets dead skin, excess oil and has anti-inflammatory properties.

How To Use Salicylic Acid Cleanser For Skin?

Salicylic acid acts as a defense against blackheads, whiteheads and minor acne. It can be used like any other face cleanser. Here’s how to use salicylic acid cleanser:

  • Wet your face before applying cleanser (this will create a better lather)
  • Massage the cleanser onto your skin using circular motions (do not scrub)
  • Rinse thoroughly to make sure you don’t leave behind any residue

Pros & Cons Of Salicylic Acid


  • It exfoliates the skin.
  • It is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. [2]
  • Controls excess oils.
  • Suited for all skin types.


  • Allergic reaction in some people who are allergic to aspirin (Salicylic acid is similar to aspirin). [3]
  • Can cause moderate burns when used in high concentrations.
  • Drying nature.

Is Salicylic Acid Cleanser Safe?

Salicylic acid has properties similar to that of aspirin. Even though salicylic acid suits all skin types, a mild tingling is common when applied on sensitive skin. If there is prolonged irritation, consult your dermatologist. You may be recommended a toner with hydrating and soothing ingredients like cucumber, which works to balance the skin. [4]

Doctors do not advice using salicylic acid when:

  • Pregnant
  • Breast-feeding [5]
  • Allergic to aspirin

What Is A Good Percentage Of Salicylic Acid?

According to science, 0.5% -2% salicylic acid clears mild to moderate acne. [6]

Is It Safe To Use Salicylic Acid Everyday?

Salicylic acid can be used everyday in concentrations of 0.5-2%. However, you can limit cleansing schedules if it contains salicylic acid. Too much salicylic has a tendency to dry out the skin. [7]

How Long Should I Keep Salicylic Acid On My Face?

Like any other cleansing routine, salicylic acid cleansing routine too requires a thorough cleanse for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not leave any residue post cleansing.

Complete Skincare routine for Acne-Prone Skin

1. Cleansing: Gently cleanse your face twice a day to get rid of dirt, excess oils and makeup residue. Cleansers with ingredients like salicylic acid prevent build up of excess oil and clogged pores.

2. Toning:  Cleansing strips off your skin’s natural pH. Use a mild toner to balance out the pH.

3. Acne Treatments: Use your acne spot treatment or other treatments religiously to see desired results. Most treatments take 4-6 weeks to show visible changes.

4. Exfoliate: Removing dead skin cells is extremely important in acne-prone skin. Adding an exfoliating step once a week helps. Since salicylic acid is a great exfoliant, you might want to exfoliate a little less than usual.

5. Moisturize: Acne-prone skin is oily and contrary to what most people believe, it does require moisturization. Oiliness in oily skin is different from the hydration that it requires. You can choose a lightweight non comedogenic moisturizer.

6. Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the harmful effects of sun is important irrespective of your skin type. Make sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen before stepping out.

Have you ever used a salicylic acid cleanser? Let us know how you benefited.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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