When it comes to skincare products, there are two classes of acids you'll see most often: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). So, what exactly is salicylic acid?
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. This means the hydroxy part of the molecule is separated from the acid part by two carbon atoms, as opposed to an alpha hydroxy acid where they're separated by one carbon atom.
With all that said, salicylic acid has gained a well-earned reputation as an acne-fighting ninja. Tough on acne, yet gentle on the skin, this superstar ingredient can be found in some of the most effective acne treatment systems on the market.
Both alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin, but AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs are oil-soluble. Salicylic acid penetrates the skin and dissolves skin debris that clogs pores, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and also helps red inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster.
Salicylic acid is an effective treatment for many common skin issues, in addition to acne, it helps to relieve or get rid of dandruff, warts, and psoriasis as well. Once you have your salicylic acid, it’s important to apply it properly so you can reap all of its benefits.
Here are three things you need to know about Salicylic Acid:
- Salicylic Acid is a natural remedy for acne and other chronic skin conditions.
- The esters of Salicylic Acid are found in the bark and leaves of the willow tree.
- A well-known beta-hydroxy acid, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble and can penetrate deep into the pores of your skin.
Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. On its own, the primary negative side effect of salicylic acid is its ability to irritate and dry skin in those that are very sensitive or those who overuse it.