Tips & Tutorials


Wanna learn more about the ingredients in your haircare or are the beauty buzzwords flyin’ over your head? Keep an eye out for our monthly feature Into It, discussing errything you need to know about beauty’s hottest ingredients. This month, we’re taking all about Salicylic Acid and whether a Salicylic Acid face wash will be just the thing you need to help clear acne.

What is Salicylic Acid?

If you want to get the science textbook out, salicylic acid is a lipophilic monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid, and a beta hydroxy acid.

If, however, you want to know what salicylic acid does when it’s used in skincare, you need to know that it can penetrate the pores of the skin, which is where your spots are formed. Unlike other ingredients, it can work below the surface of your skin, instead of on its surface. In turn, this means that it can head to the root of the problem, rather than deal with what you can see.

Basically, it’s great at unclogging pores – exactly what anyone with acne prone skin is aiming for.

What can Salicylic Acid do?

As we mentioned above, salicylic acid can work below the top layer of the skin, meaning it’s great for digging into your pores and working on what’s causing your spots.

Salicylic Acid is an essential ingredient for those with acne-prone skin.  It is able to penetrate deep in the pores where it then breaks build-up of oils and dirt reducing pimples and clogging.  It also has great exfoliating properties which help with prevention of blackheads as well as removing dead skin cells.

Hira, HQhair’s Pharmacist

It’s a great form of antibacterial skincare, so it works wonders on improving acne-prone skin, however we’d steer clear of using it to “treat” cystic acne. Salicylic acid is much better suited for working with blackheads and whiteheads, as it dissolves the keratin plugs, meaning that it can help to eradicate the cause of the spots.

It’s also a great gentle exfoliator, as a result of its acidic properties. So, not only does it work beneath the skin to clean your pores, it also works on the top layer to clean up its act too.

As an exfoliator, it can also really help with dandruff when applied to the scalp.

Does Salicylic Acid cure acne-prone skin?

We wouldn’t say that saliylic acid products “cure”  acne-prone skin, but they definitely help to alleviate build-up under the skin, and can help to minimise future acne flare ups.

Is Salicylic Acid bad for you?

Of course, you can have too much of a great thing. If you use salicylic acid products constantly then it can have a really drying affect on your skin, and may result in redness caused by irritation – not a good look.

Apply it topically just to the areas that need it, rather than applying it to your whole face. Your skin will thank you for it.

Products that have saved my skin – – These three products from The Ordinary have cleared up my acne, shrunk the appearance of my pores and even helped fade away marks/scars. – – The niacinamide serum also includes vitamin B3 and additional Zinc. Vitamin B3 reduces the appearance of blemishes and congestion, as well as balancing your skin’s sebum level. This product has improved my skin texture and smoothness and has definitely reduced my oily skin. I apply this product one in the morning and once in the evening everyday. – – Rose hip oil contains omega fatty acids and pro vitamin A which helps with regenerating skin cells and moisturising. I use this product as a nightly moisturiser every two days and has help drastically diminish marks on my skin. – – Salicylic Acid is beta hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin, lessening the appearance of blemish and enhances skin clarity and texture. I also apply this product once in the morning and once in the evening. This gets rid of any spots, pimples quickly and it’s replaced all previous products I’ve used to exfoliate. – – All these products have worked wonders for my skin, however they may work differently for different skin types. I have oily and acne prone skin. – – – – – – – #theordinary #acne #skincare #skincareroutine #rosehip #salicylicacid #exfoliate #pink #products

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The Best Salicylic Acid Products

If you are gonna make the jump and opt for Paraben-free shampoo and other beauty products, then there’s no need to look elsewhere than HQhair. We’ve dropped some of our absolute faves below, that have been tried and tested by HQ staff.

Which Salicylic Acid products

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Looking for more information? Read our guides to the best of beauty in our “into it” feature

Turmeric | Argan Oil | Salicylic Acid | Parabens | Biotin



Writer and expert