What is this ingredient called salicylic acid that’s included in almost all skin care products out there? And how does it really help skin? Find out by exploring these top 10 beauty benefits of salicylic acid!
What is Salicylic Acid?
Chances are if you’ve battled acne, you’ve heard of salicylic acid. It is a type of beta hydroxy acid extracted using the bark of the willow tree. It doesn’t naturally occur in the bark – the powdered bark is treated with antioxidant chemicals and filtered out to make the acid.
Where to Find Salicylic Acid
Commercially, you can find salicylic acid in acne creams, face masks and exfoliators. Such salicylic acid is artificially prepared in a laboratory by exposing sodium phenolate to carbon dioxide at a high pressure and temperature. The resultant mixture is then treated with sulfuric acid to create the salicylic acid used in those skin care products.
To make your own skin care formulations to fight blemishes and acne, here’s where to get salicylic acid powder.
But did you know that salicylic acid also occurs naturally in food? Yup, that’s right! Fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwis and tomatoes have salicylic acid as part of their natural hydroxy acid content.
Salicylic acid is also the main ingredient found in aspirin. It’s a powerful pain reliever and improves circulation in the body. So you can buy aspirin tablets to use the salicylic acid content in them for beauty purposes. How? Read on below!
10 Beauty Benefits of Salicylic Acid for Skin
1. Exfoliates Skin
A great exfoliator, salicylic acid dissolves dead cells and flaky skin. It also removes grime and dirt from the skin’s surface and within the pores, purifying skin and promoting a flawless look.
2. Fights Acne
A popular ingredient in acne skin care products, salicylic acid helps reduce acne inflammation, relieve painful acne, reduce oily skin that promotes acne and clears out gunky pores. All this helps treat acne and prevent further breakouts.
Make an anti-acne mask by muddling up 1 large ripe strawberry in a small bowl. Now add 1 tsp of raw honey and mix well. Apply the mixture on your face and leave it on until it dries up. Rinse your face in warm water then splash it with cold water. Do this twice a week to fight acne.
3. Fades Acne Scars & Blemishes
If you have a lot of acne scars, blemishes, dark spots and black marks on your skin, you might want to try out salicylic acid. It’s good for reducing discoloration and evening out the skin tone. You can use it as a blemish spot treatment by applying a paste of aspirin tablets and water (dissolve 1-2 aspirins in water) on the affected areas using a q-tip.
4. Opens Clogged Pores
Salicylic acid also increases circulation which in the case of oily skin and clogged pores, helps circulation of stale oils, grime, dirt and pollution right out of the pores.
Make a pore-purifying scrub by dissolving 2 aspirin tablets in 2 tsp of hot water. Now add ½ tsp of honey and 2 drops of tea tree oil. Rub this on your face for 2 minutes then rinse off with tepid water.
5. Reduces Oily Skin
When applied to oily skin, salicylic acid breaks down fatty compounds such as the skin’s sebum or natural oils. This helps clear out excess oils from the skin.
6. Shrinks Large Pores
By tightening skin and reducing oiliness, salicylic acid shrinks large pores. Its astringent properties work in minimizing large pores which gives skin a smooth appearance.
7. Promotes Anti-Aging
Salicylic acid increases cell turnover, which speeds up the rate at which skin grows. This enables fast repair of damaged skin cells and increases collagen production which makes skin smooth and youthful.
8. Reduces Skin Inflammation
Salicylic acid is good for reducing all kinds of inflammation and redness on skin. You can use it for acne inflammation, eczema flare-ups, sunburns and more.
Simply mash up a ripe kiwi in a small bowl until its completely puréed then slather it on the inflamed areas. Rinse off with cool water after 5 minutes.
9. Loosens Blackheads
By opening up the pores, salicylic acid helps loosen and squeeze out blackheads. You can make your own blackhead removal treatment as follows:
Do facial steaming to open up your pores then mash up some aspirin tablets with warm water. Using an old toothbrush, brush the aspirin paste on your blackheads areas and leave it on for 7 minutes. Then use a spoon to scrape it off.
10. Dissolves Warts
When used at a 10% to 30% concentration, salicylic acid is said to dissolve warts. To make your own wart dissolving solution:
Place two aspirin tablets in a small bowl then add a tsp of hot water. Let it dissolve into a thick paste. Using a clean index finger, apply the paste onto your wart and tape it with a band-aid. Leave it on overnight for the wart to dry up. Continue over the course of 1 to 2 weeks and watch your wart disappear.
- Salicylic acid can dry out skin so be sure to combine it with moisturizing ingredients such as honey or aloe vera gel before applying it.
- People with sensitive skin should avoid products with salicylic acid or use naturally occurring salicylic acid found in fruits.
- Regular and over use of salicylic acid may discolor or darken your skin so be sure to use sunscreen while using products with salicylic acid. Note: Natural salicylic acid in fruits is at a low concentration which won’t darken your skin but brighten it.
- Before using salicylic acid on your skin, consult your doctor or dermatologist.
- Please ensure to only use salicylic acid under professional supervision if you have you have dark skin.