Using a Salicylic Acid Face Wash

A salicylic acid face wash is a common part of an acne control skin regimen.  It can be better than a traditional face wash because it is medicated.  Unfortunately, many facial cleansers containing salicylic acid can be overly harsh and may not be the best choice for acne sufferers.

Salicylic acid is a beta hydoxy acid used in skin care products as an exfoliant and acne treatment.  Beta hydroxy acids are oil soluble.  They can penetrate clogged pores and to break up black heads and pimples.  In higher concentrations, salicylic acid is used in serums and peels to remove damaged tissue.  It is stronger at a lower percentage compared to alpha hydroxy acids.  Many anti acne products combine salicylic acid with an alpha hydroxy acid like lactic or glycolic acid.  Alpha hydroxy acids are better at dissolving dead skin cells and can help salicylic acid reach clogged pores better.

A salicylic acid face wash is a rinse off product that will typically have a concentration 2% to 3%.  The amount of salicylic acid is effectively reduced if it is used on a wet face because it becomes diluted.  Read the directions of your product.  Medicated facial cleansers will often direct users to apply it to dry skin and wait a few minutes.  This way the pH and concentration is not affected by water and the medication has some time to work.  A glycolic cleanser is often used in the same way and can also benefit acne prone skin.

Some salicylic acid facial cleansers contain harsh ingredients that can lead to irritation and aggravate acne.  Harsh synthetic detergents like sulfates can irritate sensitive skin and lead to more serious conditions like contact dermatitis.  These cleansers can also be drying.  The best face wash for oily skin will not strip the skin of all moisture.  It may seem like acne prone and oily skin types need to be squeaky clean after washing, but this can actually backfire and cause your skin to over produce oil to compensate.  You’ll get better results from a gentle, all natural salicylic acid face wash that doesn’t contain harsh detergents.  When you first switch to a milder cleanser, your skin may still be over producing oil as a reaction from your previous face wash.  This will take a few weeks to calm down, so resist the temptation to go back to over cleansing to get “clean” skin.

You may not even need a salicylic acid face wash to get rid of acne.  Most are less effective than leave on salicylic acid skin care products.  If the face wash is too harsh, it may be doing more harm than good if it is irritating your skin.  Acne prone skin needs to be calmed and soothed so that it can heal properly.  Try to use an all-natural facial cleanser first.  If you can find one that contains salicylic acid, all the better, but don’t let that single ingredient be the determining factor.  You might want to try a face wash that contains tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties.  Oily and acne prone skin also needs a good moisturizer, contrary to popular belief.  Try using a salicylic acid lotion after you cleanse your face.  A salicylic acid serum will often contain more than 2% and can be more effective.  You’ll get the best results from products that actually leave the medication on your skin as opposed to washing it off.

Exfoliation is an important part of an acne control skin care routine.  You may want to use a facial scrub, or a moisturizer that contains alpha hydroxy acids.  Removing dead skin and other debris will help keep your pores from clogging and allow your other acne treatments to reach live skin and work as intended.

A salicylic acid face wash is a popular choice for oily and acne prone skin, but it may not be the best option if it over cleanses your skin.  Look for a natural cleanser that contains salicylic acid to avoid irritation and stimulating more oil production.