What does Salicylic Acid do for your skin?
Salicylic Acid belongs to a group of acids called beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Derived from willow bark, salicylic acid is an oil-soluble acid and it functions differently than the Alpha Hydroxy Acids family. It is a popular ingredient in a lot of beauty care products because it can be used to treat everything from acne to dandruff.
Being an oil-soluble acid gives salicylic acid the ability to penetrate through the lipid layers between the skin cells more easily. In other words, it has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin cells than acids from the AHA family. While AHA’s work well on the skin’s surface to slough off dead skin cells, salicylic acid works deeper and is able to penetrate the pores to unclog impurities.
This makes salicylic an excellent ingredient for targeting acne and breakouts. By dissolving the various types of debris that clog pores, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and can additionally keep skin clear of black and whiteheads. It also reduces the redness associated with skin inflammations while ensuring that breakouts and pustules go away faster. It boosts cell regeneration which in turn increases collagen production and reduces signs of aging.
Salicylic Acid is also an excellent exfoliator. After it penetrates deep within the skin pores, it breaks down the connections between skin cells by dissolving the intracellular compounds that hold skin cells together. It also works well on the outer layers of skin due to its keratolytic properties which soften up and slough off skin cells off the top of the skin’s surface. This clears skin of blemishes and scarring. Its astringent properties also shrink enlarged pores.
It works similarly on the scalp by stripping away the outermost layer of the epidermis which ensures that dead skin cells are washed off the scalp. It also penetrates deeper into pores and hence prevents buildup and unclogs hair follicles as well. This can work to keep the scalp free of inflammations and dandruff. It can strengthen hair follicles and prevent breakage as well.