A Breakdown of Salicylic Acid for Acne Breakouts

06.12.2013, 13:06 CDT | Posted In: Acne & Blemishes, Skin Care

A Breakdown of Salicylic Acid for Acne Breakouts

If you’ve suffered from acne either as a teenager or as an adult, you’ve most likely tried many different products to help get rid of those pesky pimples. With so many skin care products that claim to prevent breakouts, clear blemishes, and unclog pores, knowing which ingredients to look for can be quite tricky. Salicylic acid is an ingredient commonly found in many anti-acne treatments, so why is it so popular and how does it work?

Salicylic acid helps reduce acne by minimizing swelling and redness and clearing blocked skin pores to allow pimples to shrink.1 The anti-inflammatory properties of salicylic acid shouldn’t be surprising, given that salicylic acid is a derived form of one of the most well-known anti-inflammatory drugs available—aspirin!2

Salicylic acid comes in several different forms and strengths and can be included in different acne-fighting products, including cleansers, toners, and lotions. The Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. System includes this key ingredient in several of its acne-fighting products, including:

  • CLENZIderm M.D. Foaming Cleanser—A light, foaming acne cleanser with 2% salicylic acid. This effective cleanser unclogs pores and washes away dead skin cells, leaving skin feeling clean and refreshed. It also includes calming menthol to help cool and soothe irritated skin.
  • CLENZIderm M.D. Pore Therapy—Unclogs pores and clears away dead skin cells with 2% salicylic acid, helping to remove acne-causing bacteria at the source. While leaving a refreshed feel to the skin, Pore Therapy prepares the skin for the next step in the acne treatment regimen.

If you use a product with salicylic acid to help control your acne, one important tip is that you must use it regularly and continuously to maintain clear skin and prevent your pores from clogging again.3  Also, for maximum effectiveness, pair up a salicylic acid-containing product with one that contains another key acne-fighting ingredient, benzoyl peroxide. While the salicylic acid works to unclog pores, benzoyl peroxide helps reduce P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, and removes dead cells from the skin.3 And of course, talk to a dermatologist for tips and advice on how to manage acne. Your dermatologist may be able to recommend a skin care product or system that’s right for you.

With the right products and skin care plan, acne will soon be long gone and remain a distant memory from your high school days.

1. Salicylic acid topical. MedLinePlus Web site.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a607072.html. Accessed May 31, 2013.
2. Acetylsalicylic acid, aspirin, ecotrin. MedicineNet Web site.
http://www.medicinenet.com/acetylsalicylic_acid/article.htm. Accessed May 31, 2013.
3. Acne treatment available without a prescription. AcneNet Web site. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/treatotc.html. Accessed May 31, 2013.