In a time when everyone and their friends are talking about acne, salicylic acid obviously tags along. Salicylic acid products are all the rage right now on social media. And why is this? It’s simple: salicylic acid is one of the best options for acne-prone skin. So, how do you know if salicylic acid is right for you? Here are some situations in which you would definitely benefit from using this star ingredient:
- You have acne-prone skin;
- Your nose and forehead (and/or other body parts) collect blackheads as a hobby;
- You have hormonal pimple bursts;
- Your pores are dilated and you’d like them to reduce in diameter.
So, how does salicylic acid work on the skin? Given that it’s a naturally occurring acid, it exfoliates the skin. However, it differs from the other acids in one particular point: it’s lipophilic, meaning it dissolves in lipids/fat instead of dissolving in water. This means that it can actually penetrate the pores by dissolving in their sebum and exfoliating them from within. Thus, it helps to reduce blackheads by reducing the number of dead cells accumulated. Additionally, it also helps to improve skin texture.
So, without further ado, here are our favorite cosmetics with salicylic acid.
The best salicylic acid products for every skincare need
Darphin L’Institut Youth Resurfacing Peel
Peeling with salicylic acid
This weekly peeling lotion helps to reduce signs of aging. As it improves skin radiance and smoothness, it also suppresses irregularities, gently refining the texture of more damaged complexions. All in all, it’s a good option if you’re looking to tackle visible signs of aging, fatigue, and dehydration with a single product.
By casting away dead skin cells through the combined action of botanical extracts and salicylic acid, this product visibly renews the appearance of the skin, providing it with a welcome breath of fresh air. Keep in mind, however, that it is not advisable for sensitive skin types.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum
Best salicylic acid for adult acne
The newest member of the Effaclar family is especially formulated for those who suffer from acne in adult life. Besides reducing the appearance of imperfections, its unique formula also provides an antiaging action.
With a powerful formula that combines exfoliating acids, including 1.5% salicylic acid, and niacinamide, this serum targets persistent imperfections and helps refine and renew the skin, all the while reducing the discomfort and irritation of acne-prone skin.
Esthederm Intensive Propolis+ Salicylic Acid Concentrate Serum
The most potent concentrate
This localized treatment tackles the appearance of imperfections and enlarged pores. The tube features a precision tip that dispenses a small amount of product at a time, ideal to apply onto target areas or onto the T-zone.
Ideal to target imperfections such as blackheads, enlarged pores and imperfections, Esthederm Intensive Propolis+ Salicylic Acid Concentrate Serum combines propolis extract, which provides the skin with soothing and purifying properties, and our star ingredient, salicylic acid, which works overtime to minimize spots and imperfections.
SkinCeuticals Prevent Silymarin CF Serum
Best anti-aging for acne-prone skin
Science and research are key when developing complex formulas that combine multiple powerful actives. In this formula, launched in 2021, SkinCeuticals blends antioxidant L-ascorbic and ferulic acids, which protect the skin from environmental damage while fighting visible signs of aging, salicylic acid, which exfoliates and refines the skin, reducing the appearance of pores, and the titular silymarin, which prevents oil oxidation and protects the skin against free radicals.
Each application of this supercharged serum contributes to balance the skin, reduce excess oil, and protect against external aggressions. As a result, the skin appears more even, refined and rejuvenated day after day.
YOUTH LAB Blemish Dots Invisible Blemish Treatment Patches
Our favorite anti-blemish patches
Pimple patches are the cool new kids on the block, and we love these from YOUTH LAB. These small and transparent patches may be applied in the morning, under makeup, or in the evening, just before bedtime. They provide both treatment and protection.
The formula of the YOUTH LAB Blemish Dots features powerful purifying ingredients that unclog pores and soothe the skin at the same time. The star ingredient is salicylic acid, since it exfoliates and cleanses the pores all the while reducing the formation of blemishes. In addition, botanical extracts contribute to minimize inflammation and reduce redness.
Biretix Tri-Active Spray Anti-Blemish
Best for back and chest acne
Back-and-chest acne is a common foe, but salicylic acid products can help you defeat it. Biretix Tri-Active Spray was specifically developed to fight acne on the back and chest, and it features multi-position packaging that allows you to apply the product on your own, without missing a spot.
This product contains encapsulated retinol and salicylic acid, two proven ingredients in the fight against acne. The resulting formula clears pores, clarifies the skin, and provides a soothing effect, reducing irritation and redness.
SVR Sebiaclear Micro-Peel Smoothing Renewal Water
The perfect salicylic acid toner
This fast-absorbing skincare essence is specially formulated for sensitive and oily skin prone to acne. With niacinamide, salicylic and lactobionic acids, and zinc, it is the perfect cocktail to tackle persistent imperfections. At the same time, it refines and renews the appearance of the skin; indeed, it leaves the skin feeling clean and pure, with tightened pores and a finer, smoother texture.
And in case you’re wondering about the texture, this renewal water is as fluid as the name suggests: it features a pleasant non-greasy and non-sticky watery texture, with a delicate fragrance that only adds to the feeling of cleanliness and freshness.
NeoStrata Refine SaliZinc Gel
The folliculitis Kryptonite
Folliculitis is a widespread concern, and it has erroneously been called “fungal acne” in the past few years. Salicylic acid products can help prevent this condition by exfoliating the skin and restricting the build up of dead cells.
With glycolic and salicylic acids, zinc, and niacinamide, this gel provides a global action by unclogging pores, normalizing sebum production, and minimizing irritation. Last, but not least, it is particularly indicated for those who rock a beard, as it’s super fluid and will not leave any greasy residue.
CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser Bumpy Skin
The best cleanser for oily skin
CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser Bumpy Skin is a best selling skin cleanser suitable for the face and body. Its composition combines salicylic acid, a potent exfoliant and anti-inflammatory, and hyaluronic acid, a powerful moisturizer. Together, these ingredients bring a smoother, softer, and brighter appearance to your skin, eliminating signs of roughness and bumpiness.
Like other CeraVe products, this product is formulated with three ceramides that help protect the skin’s natural barrier. It is also free of fragrance and physical exfoliants, so if you don’t get along with those, this is a great option for a daily cleanser.
Oh, and here’s a final protip: if you struggle with keratosis pilaris, this product will most certainly help.
Lierac Sébologie Blemish Correction Stop Spots Concentrate
A spot-on treatment for occasional blemishes
We all struggle with pimples from time to time, even if our skin isn’t particularly oily or acne-prone. If that’s your case, look to this Lierac Sébologie Concentrate. This product dries out imperfections and accelerates their re-absorption; last, but not least, it also prevents the appearance post-inflammatory scars.
You can also use this product to improve the appearance of localized areas, especially if you are dealing with dilated pores or uneven skin texture. This dual phase concentrate will reduce sebum production in the area, minimize the appearance of pores, and reduce the number of blackheads, thereby improving the overall appearance of the skin.
And there you have it, our best salicylic acid products: all very different, but all with the same star ingredient in common. We hope these products will help you tackle your skin concerns with ease!
Head of Content at Care to Beauty