If you're prone to breakouts, then you may well have heard of this brilliant ingredient already. Hailed as the enemy of acne and the bane of blackheads, salicylic acid helps the skin in a variety of different ways and is used in a wide range of cosmetic products. But what is it, and how does it work?
What is salicylic acid?
Salicylic acid is an organic compound which is found naturally in the bark of willow trees. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal ingredient and is part of the same family as aspirin, which also comes from willow trees. It belongs to a group of compounds called salicylates and is a beta hydroxy acid. Acids used in cosmetics are generally divided into alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble, whereas beta hydroxy acids are oil soluble. This is significant because it means that beta hydroxy acids are able to penetrate deeper into the skin, making skincare products containing this special ingredient even more effective.
What are the benefits?
Salicylic acid helps the skin in many ways.
- Exfoliation: Thanks to its oil soluble properties, this ingredient is a great exfoliator. Unlike water soluble acids, it is able to travel into the deeper layers of the skin and break down dirt and debris in the pores themselves, leaving healthy looking, glowing skin.
- Reducing redness: In common with its close relation, aspirin, this acid also has anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce redness and swelling on the skin's surface.
- Clearing blackheads and whiteheads: Blackheads and whiteheads form on the skin when excess oil and sebum combines with dead skin cells to clog pores. Products containing this marvellous component can help to unclog pores by breaking down dead skin cells and dirt, helping both to address blemishes and prevent further breakouts.
- Smoothing skin: The acid's mild exfoliation properties help to reduce bumpiness and rough patches on skin, helping to make it feel smooth and soft.
- Controlling excess oil: This special ingredient also helps to control and reduce excess sebum, which makes sure that skin stays moisturised and healthy.
Adding it to your skincare routine.
Products containing this compound are especially good for acne prone skin. SkinCeuticals have developed a range of products which contain this ingredient, which are great for oily skin and are easy to incorporate into your daily skincare routine.
Best cleanser for oily skin: Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Cleanser is perfect for oily and blemish prone skin. It contains ingredients which help to exfoliate the skin and has an effective, but gentle, formulation that can be used twice a day.
Best toner for oily skin: Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Toner contains LHA, and glycolic acid to effectively exfoliate your skin. Use after the Blemish and Age Cleanser to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil.
Best everyday protection for oily skin: Silymarin CF 30ml serum is formulated with powerful antioxidants including silymarin, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and ferulic acid. It should be used after cleansing and toning to reduce excess sebum, and improve the appearance of blemishes.
You can view the entire Skinceuticals range here at Flawless Body shop.