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The Benefits of Salicylic Acid for Acne—and How It Works

If you've done enough research on acne prevention and treatment, you've surely come across different skincare routines, product recommendations, and ingredients. Most people turn to skincare products with well-known ingredients like salicylic acid but don't consider its overall role in their skincare routine.


However, is salicylic acid - which is found in a myriad of anti-acne skincare - really effective against acne? Yes, and for different types of acne too! To fully understand how salicylic acid benefits the skin, we dive into its properties below.

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These properties make salicylic acid one of the more widely used ingredients in acne skin care. Furthermore, it can also exfoliate and remove dead skin cells to showcase newer and younger skin.


How Does Salicylic Acid Work on Skin?

Acne is formed when excess oil sits and stays and gets trapped on the skin's surface. Bacteria can cultivate and cause inflammation and infection characterized by pus.


A BHA, like salicylic acid, works by unclogging the pores where the inflammation, bacteria, and pus sit. It breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells to easily release the contents from pores. Furthermore, salicylic acid also decreases the skin's sebum production, leading to fewer breakouts.

Making the Most Out of Salicylic Acid's Benefits

With its many benefits, from clear skin to improved skin texture and even skin tone, salicylic acid is one of the many skincare staples. To give you more information on salicylic acid, we've listed the top five of its benefits below.



1. Eliminates excess oil


A common struggle of people with acne is excess oil and sebum, and salicylic acid is a key ingredient in keeping those at bay. It is oil-soluble, exfoliating the pore's lining and decreasing oil buildup. This gives your skin a good deep cleaning and suppresses sebocytes from producing excess oil that can lead to acne production.


A great way to help decrease excess oil is by double-cleansing. This involves washing your face twice: first with a rinse-off cleanser to break down dirt, oil, makeup, and other residue while cleansing deep into your pores; and then with micellar water to get rid of excess residue your rinse-off cleanser may not have eliminated. 


For your rinse-off cleanser, try Garnier's Anti-Acne Cleanser, which deeply cleanses the pores, removes excess oil, and fights acne bacteria. Then you can follow it up with the Garnier Micellar Water for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin to complete your double-cleansing!



2. Acts as an exfoliant


Salicylic acid is a BHA that acts as a peeling agent to exfoliate dead skin cells. It accelerates skin cell renewal by exfoliating dead skin cells, making it an ideal addition to any skin care routine for acne.



3. Soothes inflammation


Salicylic acid naturally comes from willow bark and contains a chemical called salicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can calm inflamed and irritated skin. Using salicylic acid for acne reduces its redness, puffiness, and soreness.



4. Prevents future breakouts


Unlike other common acne-fighting ingredients, salicylic acid is a comedolytic or prevents future comedones, such as whiteheads and blackheads, from forming. When your skin is regularly washed, your pores stay clean, and you won't have to deal with the excess oil or dead skin cells nesting on your skin.



5. Minimizes appearance of pores


Due to it being an effective astringent, the ingredient is highly effective in tightening and minimizing the appearance of pores. The clogging can often lead to the overstretching of the pore. If this isn't addressed, it won't be long before more oil and bacteria sit in , preventing it from tightening again. By minimizing and tightening the pores, salicylic acid can give the skin a youthful, smooth appearance.


Maskne has become a common issue because the perfect breeding ground for bacteria buildup lies under the mask, where it's humid. Use products with salicylic acid to tighten your pores even under the mask, so you have nothing to worry about.

Salicylic Acid: Your Best Friend

While the benefits of salicylic acid for acne are well known, many don't understand how acids work and how to integrate them into their skincare routine. Hopefully, we have shared valuable information by explaining how salicylic acid works and its benefits on the skin.


Before using salicylic acid to treat acne, do your research and ensure that it's the best option. It can be effective and worth trying, especially if other treatments aren't working. Check out the Garnier shop to avail of a wide range of skincare products to address every skin concern!