Fighting With Acne: Salicylic Acid

Fighting With Acne: Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid

If you are struggling with acne and blackheads, there is an ingredient you must meet: Salicylic acid. We think that acne, blackheads, large pores, and excessive oiliness are the most common skin problems we experience. Fortunately, the ever-evolving cosmetic industry offers powerful solutions for these problems.

In the cosmetics industry, where acids are heavily used, salicylic acid is a product that has been used for years, even though it has just made its name. Its area of ​​influence is effective in the treatment of acne and the treatment of diseases such as warts, calluses, and dandruff.

Read on to learn how salicylic acid can treat your acne!

What is Salicylic Acid?

Actually, before answering this question, it would be much more efficient if we talked a little bit about acids, wouldn't it?

When it comes to "using acid on the skin," we all stop and think. Although acids are harmful, the acids used in skincare are different and very beneficial when used correctly. We can divide the acids used in skincare into AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids). AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs are fat-soluble acids. While AHAs work on the surface of the skin, BHAs act both on the surface and deep.

Salicylic acid is also an acid belonging to the BHA group. Therefore, it also acts deep in the skin and solves skin problems such as blackheads and acne.

Although this acid has gained popularity in recent years, with people becoming more conscious and starting to read the ingredients of the products they use, it has been used since the Ancient Greeks. Salicylic acid gets its name from the Latin word Salix (willow). As you can see from here, it is naturally found in the bark of the willow tree.

Although the ancient Greeks were unaware of this acid, they discovered that willow bark is good for pain and used it for many years. Later, in the 1800s, it was also produced synthetically, and with it, "aspirin" entered our lives. Yes, the raw material of aspirin, which we all have at home, is salicylic acid. In other words, this acid is included in skin care products and drugs used to treat many diseases.

We also learned that it is used as a food preservative and antiseptic.

What are the Benefits of Salicylic Acid for the Skin?

Salicylic acid is one of the most effective ingredients that can be used for acne. What makes it so effective is that it penetrates deep into the skin. As you know, it is not possible to solve skin problems such as acne, where the main problem is deep, with superficial interventions. Therefore, it is necessary to use ingredients with profound effects, such as BHA acids.


  • Deeply cleans clogged pores.
  • With its anti-inflammatory properties, it heals inflamed acne.
  • It shrinks pores.
  • It reduces sebum formation.
  • It reduces redness.
  • It removes acne and comedones and prevents the formation of new ones.
  • It cleans the pores, removes blackheads, and prevents the formation of new ones.
  • Also, this acid acts as a keratolytic drug. In other words, it is used as peeling and purifies the skin from dead skin.
  • It is perfect not only for acne but also for the blemishes caused by them.
  • It reduces wrinkles and fine lines with its anti-aging effect.
  • It prevents dandruff on the scalp.
  • It balances the oil rate of oily skin from excessive sebum production.

Is Salicylic Acid Harmful?

It would be better to start here with the following question; “Which skin type should use salicylic acid?”.

The most suitable skin type for this acid is oily and acne-prone skin. These skin types reduce sebum production, provide oil balance, and remove acne and blackheads. That's why we wouldn't be wrong if we said that salicylic acid is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin.

The two skin types that should not be used in particular are dry and sensitive skin. It can irritate sensitive skin while causing dry skin to dry out even more. Therefore, even if it is used, it is helpful to be cautious and consult a dermatologist.

If you have acne-prone skin and will use this acid, you will need to moisturize your skin with the right moisturizer. You can also apply it to a small part of your skin for a few days before applying it to the whole face and observe if you are allergic.

The acid concentration in the product is also critical. The salicylic acid concentration recommended by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is 0.5%-2%. It can be used up to 5% in the market. But more than 5% causes skin irritation and peeling.

Another point to consider is the use of sunscreen. Using sunscreen both prevents premature aging and protects it from possible skin blemishes. So, you shouldn't go out without sunscreen; let's even go a little further; you should use it every day, even if you don't go out. A product that is so important to use becomes even more critical when it comes to the use of acid.

How to Use Salicylic Acid

Because of their strong effects, acids are not products that can be applied directly to the skin. Therefore, you should choose skincare products containing salicylic acid, and these products should be suitable for your skin type. There are many products to help you with this; facial cleansers, anti-acne creams, serums… Undoubtedly, the most effective products among them are skin serums.

As we explained in our 6-question skin serum article, serums effectively deal with wrinkles, acne, blackheads, skin dryness, and many other skin problems due to the many active ingredients they contain. Serums containing salicylic acid are available in large numbers on the market. We do not doubt that by examining its components and consulting a dermatologist, you will find the right product for you!

Can salicylic acid and vitamin C be used together?

There is no definite information on this subject. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has powerful effects, just like salicylic acid. It is primarily known for its skin tone equalization and stain removal properties. You can use a product that contains both, but you may not see the benefit you expect, as both are powerful and effective acids. Vitamin C is generally used with low PH ingredients; vitamin C may be reduced when used with products with a high PH. However, with the recommendation of a dermatologist, you can use vitamin C in the morning care and salicylic acid in the evening care. In our opinion, whether you have more acne problems or blemishes, it will be more efficient to decide on this and use one of these strong acids.

Which Foods Contain Salicylic Acid?

This acid occurs naturally in some vegetables and fruits;

  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Lentil
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive
  • Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Plum
  • Watermelon
  • Cherry
  • Hazelnut
  • Sunflower
  • Coconut
  • Cumin
  • Rosemary