What Skincare Products Contain Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is a popular ingredient used in skincare products, with the market expected to reach $731.4 million by 2027. It's one of the top ingredients used to help battle against breakouts and improve the overall quality of your skin. 

There are various types of products that contain salicylic acid, from lotions to cleaners to serums. This guide will let you know all about the magic of salicylic acid and go over some of our favorite products available. 

What is Salicylic Acid?

The overall structure of salicylic acid can be a bit complex to understand, but it helps give you background information on why it's so wonderful for your skin. You'll see two different types of acids in different skincare products: alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). 

Salicylic acid is a BHA. It also comes from willow bark which contributes to it being more oil-soluble, allowing it to penetrate your skin's pores. 

Both of these types of acids work to exfoliate your skin. BHAs and other oil-soluble ingredients can get through the lipid layers between your skin cells more easily. They work better than AHAs and other water-soluble ingredients. 

All of this scientific information essentially means that salicylic acid can get in deep into your skin and get the job done. If you'd like to read about salicylic acid and how it works with AHAs, find out more

Salicylic acid is perfect for targeting whiteheads, blackheads, and acne in general. As it penetrates the skin, it dissolves any skin debris that's clogged your pores. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps inflamed pimples go away faster. 

As the skin cells break down due to the presence of salicylic acid, it'll promote exfoliation within your skin. It helps the topmost layer of your skin soften and begin to slough off. 

When you look for skincare products to help with your acne or improve, keep an eye out for salicylic acid in the list of ingredients. Below are some of our favorite products for you to add to your skincare routine. 

Salicyclic Acid Cleansers

Using a salicylic acid cleanser is great for skin that tends to be dry and irritated because you don't leave it on for a long period of time. As you rinse off the cleanser, you're removing the topmost layer of dead skin. 

When choosing a salicylic acid cleanser, look for a gel-based one. They tend to absorb oil quickly. A foam cleanser is a great option for when you need a cleanser to penetrate your skin. 

You should also pay attention to how much of the active ingredient the cleanser has in it. It should have around 2% of salicylic acid. The higher the percentage, the more chance your skin has of getting irritated. 

Salicylic acid works more effectively when it's combined with AHAs like glycolic or lactic acid. Look for those ingredients as well. 

When you first start using a salicylic acid cleanser, start using it once a day in the evening. If your skin doesn't get irritated, you can increase it to twice a day. Repair the barrier of your skin after cleansing it with a moisturizer. 

Some brands for cleansers with salicylic acid include CeraVe, Aveeno, and La Roche-Posay. 

Salicylic Acid Spray

A salicylic acid spray doesn't just prevent acne from appearing on your face - it's good for your entire body. You can spray it on your chest, shoulders, back, or butt. If you struggle with body acne, you need a salicylic acid spray in your life. 

If you work out a lot, sometimes you can break out in areas where your sweat-soaked shorts or sports bras press against your skin. Sometimes changing and showering quickly after exercising doesn't prevent the appearance of acne. 

You might also have little bumps that are whiteheads or blackheads that are hard to get rid of. The salicylic acid that's in the spray can get deep into your pores, ridding the bumps that appear in hard-to-reach places. 

You might also suffer from breakouts due to wearing a face mask. A salicylic acid spray can help with that as well. 

Some of our favorite brands of acne-fighting body sprays are Murad, AcneFree, Life-Flo, and SLMD Skincare. 

Salicylic Acid Shampoo

Salicyclic acid can be used in more products than cleansers and serums. It's a prominent ingredient in many shampoos. Since salicylic acid effectively breaks down dead skin cells, it's perfect for treating different scalp conditions. 

For those suffering from dandruff, salicylic acid will moisturize your dry scalp. It'll rid your hairy of the pesky and embarrassing white flakes. You can use salicylic acid shampoo regularly or for seasonal dandruff. 

The salicylic acid shampoo is another option for those with seborrheic dermatitis. People who have that also have itchy scalps in addition to flakiness. The skin flakes tend to be more oily than dry, like dandruff. 

You'll be able to recognize if you have seborrheic dermatitis if you have oily patches on other areas of your skin, like your face and ears. Using this type of shampoo can help treat scalp seborrheic dermatitis. 

Unfortunately, if you suffer from hair loss or psoriasis, a salicylic acid shampoo won't be effective for your condition. Psoriasis needs to be treated with a prescription-strength shampoo. 

When you use salicylic acid shampoo, follow the below instructions:

  • Wet your scalp and hair with lukewarm water
  • Put a small amount of the salicylic acid shampoo on your scalp
  • Lather the shampoo by massaging your scalp
    • Note: Don't rub or scrub the shampoo into the ends of your hair
  • Let it sit for five minutes
  • Rinse 
  • Follow it up with a moisturizing conditioner

The salicylic acid shampoo is typically used weekly unless recommended otherwise. Some popular brands of salicylic acid shampoo include Derma E, Aveda, and Neutrogena. 

Discover More Tips for Your Skincare Routine

Salicylic acid, when used correctly, can do wonders for your skin. Get rid of old skin cells, improve your skin's appearance, and eliminate acne with salicylic acid skincare products. 

You can implement more beauty tips into your skincare routine and check out one of our other articles.