The beauty about skin care is that we have so many different ingredients and solutions to help us achieve great looking skin. Salicylic acid is one of those ingredients that you literally cannot visit a single store without running into. However, just like any other health and beauty ingredient on the market, you can’t simply use something without knowing everything there is to about it. If you want to use a product with this in it then you better keep reading…
What Is Salicylic Acid?
Many people haven’t got a clue what this powerful ingredient actually is and can do. For those curious about what salicylic acid actually is, it is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) and it’s considered to be a peeling agent. This agent helps spark the shedding of the external layer of your skin. It’s also an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce any redness that may appear on the surface of your skin.
Some folks question the acids ability to clear skin while others swear by products that contain this ingredient. It can be used for many different things. For example, if you have bad acne or are prone to acne breakouts, then you may want to use the product. If you suffer from dandruff then you might like the results of using products containing this ingredient. It’s also a great fighter against psoriasis, warts, calluses on your feet and even corns.
You’re right, there are a ton of uses that this ingredient can be used for. It actually comes in various forms. However, topical salicylic acid is most likely the most popular form. What I must stress is that you use any product containing this ingredient only as directed. Taking any other approach can actually result in harm or severe irritation.
Before using a product that contains this ingredient, you must test your skin to see if you’re allergic to it or not. In the event that you have any symptoms such as difficulty breathing, any significant swelling of your lips or facial area, any throat closing, swelling of your tongue, itching, hives or any other out of the ordinary reactions, discontinue and seek medical help immediately.
It’s also extremely important that you not give any person under the age of eighteen a product to use that contains this ingredient. It can be extremely harmful to children and can even cause a fatal condition to develop. Don’t even try it!
Some other side effects that can arise from using this is ringing in your ears, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and painful headaches. If any of these start to form, you must stop using the product immediately. The same goes for if you start to feel light-headed or even short of breath. If your skin starts burning or severely dry, then you must discontinue use of the product as well. You should definitely call your doctor in the event that you experience anything mentioned above.
As for minor or typical side effects, it’s not uncommon for most people to have some minor irritation of the skin or a little bit of peeling. The skin may also change color in the area that’s been treated. It typically turns to a whiter than usual color if it changes color at all.
Benzoyl Peroxide vs Salicylic Acid
Some people have asked me what the difference is between these two ingredients. I’ve already explained what the BHA is and does. Let me dive into benzoyl peroxide so you have a better understanding of what that is as well. It’s an antibacterial that works to kill bacteria that lives within your pores. It too has anti-inflammatory powers.
It’s not a great solution for individuals with sensitive skin. It’s good for clearing up whiteheads. That said, one is good for whitehead care and the other is better suited for removing blackheads and inflammation. So, if you need to clear up your whiteheads of a little bit of acne, then go for the benzoyl peroxide. If you need to fight off inflammation and blackheads, stick with the salicylic.
I’m certainly not trying to get too scientific here, but for those interested in knowing the chemical formula, it’s C7H6O3.
Is It Safe?
Generally speaking, yes this ingredient is pretty safe for adults to use. However, I want to point out how unsafe this is for children under 18 to use. It can cause serious harm to children that may even result in death if not careful. Use your best judgment and get a second opinion from a local professional before applying a product containing this ingredient.
Breastfeeding And Use During Pregnancy
We personally do not advise anyone breastfeeding to use a product that contains this ingredient. If you’re pregnant, you should not be using this product either. The reason it’s so dangerous to use is due to the baby. Anything a mother ingests can ultimately be passed along to the baby.
Whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should take great care in researching any medications or over the counter drugs that you might be ingesting or consuming. It could literally save your babies life.
In the event that you have acne and you wish to treat it, I suggest that you seek alternative methods for treating the acne.
Products Containing The Ingredient
There are literally thousands of types of products that contain salicyclic acid. All you need to do is a simple search on the local online pharmacy site and you’ll likely get tons of pages of results. Some scrubs, wart removers, gel cleansers, body washes, shampoos, moisturizers and even foot ointments contain this ingredient. Finding a product that contains it and that works isn’t all that difficult. The important thing is that you pay attention to the amount of salicylic acid in each of the products. Typical dosage amount would be about .05% to 2.0% for an over the counter product.
Always Seek Professional Advice
It’s extremely important that you stay humble and seek professional help when in doubt. Checking with your dermatologist won’t hurt and it is highly advised.