Salicylic Acid

beam wonder spot series salicylic acid


Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). It is an exfoliant ingredient, mainly known to unclog pores. I love this ingredient and it appears in many of my decongesting treatments or masks. For me, it does a good job in reducing the number of breakouts by unclogging pores. But without the risk of rupturing pores and tiny blood vessels. If you are prone to congestion then this ingredient needs to be in your beauty arsenal.⠀

Opens clogged pores – helps to loosen and squeeze out blackheads⠀

Increases cell turnover⠀

Increases collagen production

Helps with discoloration⠀⠀

Acne treatment in low concentrations ⠀⠀

Exfoliate – helps to enhance the efficacy of other active ingredients and makes the skin more radiant⠀⠀

Reduces oily skin – breaks down fatty compounds such as sebum and oil, thus removing excess oil.⠀

Acne – 0.5% – 2% salicylic acid is extremely effective for acne treatment purposes. (Zander, 1992)

It can stimulate circulation of oil, grime, dirt and pollution out of pores.

For SA to open up pores, it is dependent on 2 things – concentration and pH level. Most products work at 1% – 3%. Aim for concentrations around 1-2%.

As for pH, it needs to be acidic (a pH of about 3.5 – 4 or lower) – in order to break down fats and open up pores. Warning – It might sting a little! It doesn’t kill acne-causing bacteria but it helps to unclog pores such that bacteria cannot prosper and grow in low oxygen environments. ⠀

A study last year found Lipohydroxy acid (LHA), a derivative of SA leads to dermal thickening (Zeichner 2016), increases glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin levels. Yet when I looked at this ingredient, La Roche Posay was using it mainly for acne, didn’t come across anyone else using it for anti-ageing.

Regular and overuse ⠀

SA can dry out the skin ⠀⠀

Avoid use of product around the eyes⠀

Avoid use if skin is broken, swollen, red or infected⠀

This is a fab ingredient and I find this in some of the masks that I use and in topical acne treatments. I feel it works the best as a toner just after cleansing or when I am looking to lower the PH of my skin before applying actives. These are two toning/clearing products that I love:

❤️ AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA (Not tried but I do hear great reviews).
❤️ COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid (I do have a soft spot for this. This has betaine salicylate (4%). (Betaine salicylate is similar to salicylic acid, and is derived from sugar beet.)



  1. September 21, 2017 / 9:43 am

    Quite interesting. I feel you have made valuable and valid points in this writing. I agree with you totally and am glad I had an opportunity to read this.

    • September 21, 2017 / 11:15 am

      Thank you Lucy for taking the time to read my blog, I am most grateful! I hope you find the information useful xx