Salicylic Acid

Topical Acne Treatment: Salicylic

Like Benzoyl peroxide,
Salicylic acid topical treatments for acne have been available
over the counter as pimples creams for a long time. These
products attempt to work by exfoliating the skin and removing
dead skin cells. Because salicylic acid dissolves in oil, it is
able to penetrate blocked pores and dissolve sebum trapped in
pores. This might have a minor beneficial effect to mild acne
sufferers and is best used to control blackheads before they
turn into pimples.

Unfortunately, over the
counter strengths of salicylic acid are too weak to accomplish
much at all. Your dermatologist can prescribe a stronger
pimples cream with a higher concentration of this active


example of salicylic acid pads imageStudies have
shown that while topical acne treatments containing
salicylic acid are only minimally effective by themselves,
when used in combination with benzoyl peroxide pimples
cream or gels, the combination is more effective. It is
thought that the salicylic acid allows the benzoyl
peroxide to penetrate more deeply into the skin. Remember
to only use benzoyl peroxide treatments at 2.5%
concentration as studies have shown that stronger
concentrations are not more effective but cause far more
irritation to your skin.

The possible side effects of
using salicylic acid for acne include dry, sensitive skin,
especially if used in combination with benzoyl peroxide. You
should use a light non-comedogenic moisturizer if this happens
to you. Also, make sure to follow my
prone skin care instructions
to avoid irritating your

As with benzoyl peroxide, you
must continue to use salicylic acid treatments to continue to
reap any benefit. It is not a cure for acne. It merely helps to
unclog pores and is not to be used on pimples – use it for
blackhead control. If your blackheads turn into pimples, this
treatment may cause further irritation.

If you suffer from only mild
acne and want to reduce your blackheads, salicylic acid topical
acne treatments may be worth a try but I recommend you use it
in combination with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel. If you suffer
from moderate, heavy or cystic acne, salicylic acid treatments
will not help you and may irritate your skin