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Salicylic acid is the most known BHA (beta-hydroxyacid) and a popular exfoliating ingredient that is often recommended for oily and acne-prone skin. Due to its ability to penetrate the pores and exfoliate the skin from the inside out, it is a must-have for a radiant and smoother skin.


Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is commonly used in skincare products, specifically for oily and combination skin. Salicylic acid can penetrate the pores and effectively exfoliate the skin, making it ideal for improving a range of skin concerns, including comedones and enlarged pores. Salicylic acid also has purify properties, making it ideal on skins that are prone to breakouts and acne.


The concentration of salicylic acid used in cosmetic products is regulated and can be used up 2%.

Who Should Use It

Salicylic acid is ideal for those with oily, combination, thickened skin or acne-prone skin. It can be used to improve breakouts, blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of blemishes. It can also help reduce the appearance of pores and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.

Can Be Used In Combination With

Salicylic acid can be used in combination with a range of other skincare ingredients, including, madecassoside and niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help soothe and calm skin that may be irritated by the use of salicylic acid. It can also help improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and texture. It is also important to note that salicylic acid can increase the absorption of other skincare ingredients, making it an ideal addition to multi-step skincare routines.

How Often Can You Use It

Salicylic acid is preferably used in the evening. As a start, salicylic acid can be used every 2 days in the evening, and gradually every night, increasing the frequency as tolerated by the skin. Overuse of salicylic acid can cause irritation, so it is important to use it with caution.

Don't Use It If

Individuals with sensitive and reactive skin, as well as those who are allergic to aspirin, should avoid using salicylic acid. Additionally, it is important to avoid using salicylic acid on irritated skin, as this can cause further irritation and increase the risk of skin sensitization. Pregnant and lactating women should also avoid using salicylic acid unless advised by a healthcare provider.

Origins of the Ingredient

Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring compound found in plants, particularly in willow trees (genus Salix) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). The use of willow bark to treat pain and fever dates back to ancient times, with Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians being among the first to describe its medicinal properties. The active ingredient salin in willow bark was identified in the early 19th. Later, in 1853, the French chemist CF Gerhardt converted salicin into its active form, salicylic acid, by hydrolysis. Universkin provides a pure synthetic salicylic acid.

Chemical Composition

Salicylic acid is commonly referred to as a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) in the skincare industry. This is because of its chemical structure, which includes a hydroxyl (-OH) group attached to the second carbon atom (beta position) of the molecule. Salicylic acid powder is usually white or pale yellow in color and has a fine, powdery texture.

Mechanism of Action

Salicylic acid as BHA is known for its ability to penetrate into the pores of the skin, where it can dissolve excess oil, exfoliate dead skin cells, and help to unclog pores. It is known also to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that play a key role in the inflammatory response and to have antimicrobial propertiesAll its properties renders it highly conducive to resolving skin issues like acne prone skin and other forms of breakouts. Additionally, salicylic acid can help to improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin by increasing skin cell turnover and promoting a more even and radiant skin tone.


Salicylic acid has several key benefits for the skin, including its ability to exfoliate and purify the skin, reduce the severity of breakouts and blemishes, and improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin. By removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores, salicylic acid can help to prevent the formation of new blemishes, leaving the skin looking clearer and more radiant.


Salicylic acid is a stable ingredient.

In conclusion, salicylic acid is a well-known and effective ingredient in skincare, particularly for those with oily and combination skin prone to imperfections and acne. With its exfoliating and purifying properties, it helps to improve the appearance of the skin, making it look clearer, brighter, and more even. Salicylic acid can bring significant benefits to the skin.