5 Benefits of Salicylic Acid


Salicylic acid is widely known as an effective ingredient in fighting acne due to its oil fighting properties. Salicylic acid breaks down and removes the oils that accumulate in the pores as well as helping rid the skin of dead cells, thus reducing the appearance of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, a type of lipid-soluble acid that is different from alpha-hydroxy acids as the latter has a high solubility in water. Its lipid-solubility property allows it to penetrate the skin through the sebaceous follicles, making it a good solution for issues caused by oily skin.

Below, you can learn more about the properties and benefits that Salicylic acid has when used on the skin, and the way this acid is used to get the desired results.

Salicylic acid has been proven to have many benefits which you can find listed below:

Top five benefits of Salicylic acid:

1- Deep cleaning the skin and clearing out the clogged pores

If you suffer from oily skin, you are aware of the issues caused by excess sebum production, and have looked for a product that can dissolve these oils and help prevent the pimples they cause. In fact, this is what salicylic acid does. It is a well-known ingredient that removes excess oil due to its high oil solubility by dissolving the oils that build up in your pores. Using a daily salicylic acid face wash, such as Neutrogena® Spot Controlling Daily Face Wash, helps control the oiliness of your skin and therefore reduce breakouts.

2- Reducing the chances of future breakouts with regular use

Acne is a skin condition that happens when oil and dead skin cells clog hair follicles, causing blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples. Using salicylic acid regularly on the skin keeps the pores clear, reducing the chance for acne to appear. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help protect the skin from Propionibacterium Acnes, the acne-causing bacteria. You can use a gentle daily scrub like Neutrogena® Spot Controlling Daily Scrub Oil Free or Neutrogena® Visibly Clear® Blackhead Eliminating Daily Face Scrub, that are made with salicylic acid to reduce the chances of a breakout.

3- Acting as a mild exfoliator

Salicylic acid acts as a peeling agent when used in higher concentrations. Salicylic acid breaks down the bonds between the keratinocytes that form the upper layer of the skin, thus, gently removing the dull layer of the skin without the need for mechanical exfoliation that may cause irritation to some skin types.

4- Treating acne scars

Salicylic acid acts as a gentle exfoliator that removes old or dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It therefore helps skin obtain a smooth texture by reducing skin flaking as well as helping heal darkened or harsh skin spots that mark where the pimple was.

5- Treating age spots

As salicylic acid helps remove pigmented and dead skin cells from the surface layer of the skin and allows new skin cells to take its place, it therefore reduces the signs of aging and gives your skin a more youthful appearance.

There are different types of products that contain Salicylic acid such as face wash, cleansers, and moisturizers. Below are some tips to keep in mind when using products that contain Salicylic acid!

  1. Using salicylic acid to help treat acne may lead to dryness of the skin due to the oil-dissolving properties that salicylic acid has. When using a product containing salicylic acid, make sure to use an oil-free moisturizer twice a day to restore moisture to your skin without clogging the pores. Opt for Neutrogena® Spot Controlling Oil Free Moisturizer to provide your skin with hydration while keeping the pores clear.
  2. Clean your face twice daily using lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.
  3. Use your hands to apply moisturizing creams or other products.
  4. Make sure to use sun protection products, such as sunscreens and moisturizers with SPF 25, like Neutrogena® Bright Boost Gel Fluid SPF 30, to avoid increased sun sensitivity

In summary, the use of products that contain salicylic acid on a regular basis give you control of the oil that the skin needs to stay healthy while keeping your pores clear. Keep in mind that seeing results may take some time and will not be visible after just one use.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30972839/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366450/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/beta-hydroxy-acids