Benefits: Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) which removes the peripheral layer of dead skin cells and unclogs pores by deeply penetrating them. By unclogging pores, salicylic acid can reduce the number and size of blackheads. Salicylic acid also helps rid of excess oil on skin, preventing new pimples, and even tones the skin from discoloration caused by acne.
A 2015 comprehensive review published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology determined that salicylic acid is safe and effective in treating acne.
Use: Salicylic acid can be used in a cleanser, gel, cleansing pad, or foam wash. It should be used once or twice a day, depending on your provider’s recommendations and suggested use on label. Salicylic acid is often used to treat facial acne.
Concentration: Concentrations can range from 0.5% to 5% depending on tolerance and previous use. On average, a good target is around 2%, as higher concentrations do not mean higher effectivity.
Results: Most patients see results in about one to two weeks.