Benefits of Salicylic Acid (BHA) for Skin


When it comes to topical treatments for acne, salicylic acid is an amazing over the counter ingredient. It is easily available and helps in drying out the zit effectively.

Let’s know why salicylic acid is a popular choice among acne-prone skin types.

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that has been known for its beneficial effects in treating clogged pores and acne. It acts as an exfoliator that helps in dissolving the dead skin layer and keeps the pores clear.

Salicylic acid has been used widely in the skincare industry and works very well on mild acne, blackheads and whiteheads. It also help in preventing breakouts by clearing out the pores and dissolving dead skin and oil debris.

People often confuse BHA’S with AHA’s but alpha hydroxy acids are totally different groups of agents and have different sets of actions. Popular AHA’s are glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid.

Salicylic can be derived from willow bark extracts, the structure is important as it makes salicylic acid more oil soluble so it can penetrate into the pores of the skin and results in active cleaning. BHA’s are oil soluble exfoliants hence it penetrates through the lipid layers between the skin more readily.

It is anti-inflammatory in nature which results in treating the red inflamed pimples at a much faster rate.

There are hair follicles all over our body. Now when these hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells and oils it leads to the appearance of white heads, blackheads or pimples.
Salicylic acid helps penetrate deep into the skin to dissolve these debris and unclogs the pores. Like any other skincare ingredient it might take several weeks of usage to see any visible results.

The recommended dosage and duration of treatment depends on your skin condition and severity of acne.
For severe acne other topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, adapalene gel can be prescribed by your dermatologist.

There are different forms in which salicylic acid can be prescribed into your skincare – gels, lotions, salicylic acid pads, soap, ointments, lotions, serums are most commonly used.

Salicylic acid can also be used as a peeling agent for reducing acne scars, acne marks, age spots and melasma.

Other peeling agents which can be used in combination are glycolic acid, mandelic acid lactic acid for giving a smoother and radiant complexion.

Usually it’s safe to use salicylic acid in the skincare regimen but some people might experience irritation during its usage. Hence patch test is recommended.
There are some side effects that are linked to the usage of salicylic acid such as tingling sensation, redness, irritation, drying out the skin, and peeling.

Although salicylic acid is available as an over the counter product and can be purchased from your local stores it is very important to consult with your dermatologist before using it.

Note- Pregnant and lactating women must consult with their gynecologist and dermatologist before adding salicylic acid into your skincare.

Hope you found this article helpful.

Take care.

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