If you’ve been shopping around for a face wash, you might have encountered the term “salicylic acid” in some products.

If this term has caused you some confusion, fear no more: In this post, we’ll explain it’s main uses as well as some of the science behind this ingredient.

So let’s begin at the beginning:

What is Salicylic Acid?

It’s a plant hormone. In nature, it can be found in willow bark, and it is often synthesized to be used in aspirins and skincare products.


What is it used for?

Salicylic acid is most known for its anti-acne properties. Particularly, it has been hailed as one of the most effective cures for blackheads and whiteheads.

This compound works by, counter-intuitively, increasing the levels of moisture in the skin, accelerating the skin shedding process. So although this ingredient moisturises the skin, it will actually dry it out.

Due to this process, this acid is also effective in eliminating pimples, fighting calluses, and warts.


Potential Side Effects

If you have extremely dry or sensitive skin, this might be an ingredient to avoid.

In the short term this ingredient will dry out your skin, potentially solving acne problems, but this can cause a huge strain in skins that are already dry.

The main mechanism through which this ingredient fights acne is by exfoliating the skin, so if you have sensitive skin, this might be an ingredient to avoid.


Final Thoughts

All in all, this is a relatively safe ingredient that you can confidently look for in your products.

We don’t personally use it in our natural face wash, as we deemed it risky for sensitive skin users, but if you are looking for an exfoliating agent to help cure warts, blackheads, and pimples, this might be the right ingredient for you.

It will be particularly effective in moderate skins that are afflicted with acne.