ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Salicylic Acid Basics

Updated on December 6, 2008

This hub will be about one of my most favorite skin care ingredients, salicylic acid, a potent and effective BHA (beta hydroxy acid). There are many variations of AHA (alpha hydroxy acids), but there is only one beta hydroxy acid, and that's salicylic acid.

The most notable difference between AHA and BHA is that alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble, whereas beta hydroxy acid is oil-soluble. This means that salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) can penetrate oil in the pores and exfoliate what is built up in the oil gland! This is great news for those battling blackheads and blemishes.

I'll be putting up another hub all about AHA's, so stay tuned for that.

Back to topic here.  Salicylic acid is a natural acid that's derived from willow bark, wintergreen leaves and sweet birch bark. It's been used in dermatology for a long time since it's a proven method to unclog pores and exfoliate the skin. It can also be combined with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) to further the benefits of each ingredient. Here's a background on salicylic acid.

The word 'salix' is derived from the Latin word for the willow tree. It is chemically similar to acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin). It can be effective in the treatment of acne, dandruff, calluses, psoriasis, corns, keratosis pilaris (those pesky bumps found on the arms) and warts. It is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women or anyone with aspirin allergy, of course. It's also contraindicated in those with liver disease, kidney disease, diabetics, and is not suitable for children.

As with many effective ingredients, it's incredibly wise to pair this with a broad-spectrum sunblock daily, and reapplied every 2 hours thereafter or more frequently if you are going to be swimming or in prolonged exposure. I want to discuss the best preparation of salicylic acid and let you know that it works best in a 1-2% formulation with a pH of 3, ideally. As I mentioned that salicylic acid is related to aspirin, you will find that salicylic acid is not as irritating as other products like Retin-A, retinol and AHA's and has some anti-inflammatory properties.

It's very difficult to find products based on pH unless you can test them, but since ingredients are listed on each and every label in the order of abundance in the bottle, jar, whatever, you can discern for yourself as to how much of the ingredient is actually in the product. The higher the ingredient appears on the list of the ingredients, the more of the ingredient that it contains.

Since only 1-2% salicylic acid is really needed to be effective, don't worry if it's not toward the top of the list. Unfortunately, the whole acne thing is really a trial and error process, except in the event of the big guns like Accutane and Retin-A. However, the side effects of both of those treatments are annoying at best and icky and worst. I've known of several acquaintances who have had to go on multiple rounds of Accutane throughout their lives, and had to deal with intense peeling of their lips, hands, and feet.

Above all else, you need patience when going through any acne regimen. Sometimes the skin will purge itself before it gets better, but then you also need to draw the line as to how long you will put up with that. For me, my threshold is about 3 weeks. I can use makeup to cover breakouts while I figure it out. There is so much that has not worked for me, unfortunately.

For example, I really wanted to love Murad's best-selling Anti Aging Anti Acne lotion with 2% salicylic acid. It felt sleek going on the skin, didn't smell terribly and didn't give me any initial irritation, which is very important. I went through a purging process that wouldn't stop even after 2 months of diligent use of the product. (!!!!) It was only when I discontinued using this product that my skin actually got better. Sucks for me. I didn't notice any diminishing of fine lines, either, which is a pity, because many, many people enjoy this product.

The point of this whole story is that you need to find what works for you. Don't be afraid to go against the grain with what other people say, especially 'beauty advisors' and 'representatives' of any particular line. You are the one that has to live in your skin, as you see it on a daily basis Good luck on your pursuit to good skin. I will continually add to this entry as I uncover new information.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      beauty gurl 

      8 years ago

      it also help light up dark marking on your skin

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)