Expert Advice

What Does Salicylic Acid Do for the Skin?

Woman applying a salicylic acid serum to her face

The skincare world is ever-evolving and we know it can be hard to keep up with it all. This is why we’re spotlighting one of our favourite ingredients, salicylic acid. Purported to provide great benefits, it is no wonder why it’s all over the shelves.

Explore our expert guide to delve deeper into what salicylic acid does for the skin so you can decide whether it’s right for you.

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and is well-known for its abilities to exfoliate the skin and help to reduce the appearance of acne.

As an oil-soluble acid, this ingredient is very effective at binding and dissolving oils and dead skin cells found in the pores, for cleaner, clearer results.

Benefits of Salicylic Acid on the Face

Salicylic acid offers two key benefits to the skin. Firstly, it helps shed dead skin cells by breaking down the structures that hold the skin together – known as ‘desmosomes’. Secondly, its ability to unclog pores and prevent the buildup of excess sebum is thought to help to keep acne breakouts at bay.

Both of these factors could indirectly help reduce inflammation, irritation and redness on the complexion.

What Skin Type is Salicylic Acid Good for?

Salicylic acid is particularly beneficial for those with oily, acne-prone or even combination skin, as its exfoliating and pore-cleansing properties make it an excellent choice for addressing breakouts and excess oil.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, you should use salicylic acid with caution, as exfoliation could be too harsh and dehydrating on the skin.

If you would still like to incorporate it into your routine, opt for a less potent formula and consider following it with a nourishing serum or moisturizer to balance out its effects.


Salicylic acid could be game-changer in helping you to achieve a more healthy-looking complexion. Its purported effects to help manage acne and improving overall skin texture means it no surprise it’s a popular choice among skincare enthusiasts.

So, if you’ve been looking to introduce an acid into your routine, this could be the perfect choice.

Want to expand your skincare knowledge? Niacinamide could be another great addition to your beauty regime. Discover our expert guide here.



Writer and expert

Life motto: 'There's no such thing as too many beauty products'

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