WHAT IS SALICYLIC ACID? AND HOW CAN IT CLEAR UP TEEN BLACKHEADS AND BLEMISHES?
Sometimes young skin needs more than just careful cleansing. Sometimes teens get blackheads and blemishes that are hard to shift. That’s when it’s time to bring out the skincare big guns. And salicylic acid is about as big as anti-acne big guns get.
So, what is this acne-fighting powerhouse? What can it do for tween/teen skin? And what’s the correct way to use it? We’re giving you the low-down right here:
WHAT IS SALICYLIC ACID?
Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid – also known as a BHA. It gets its name from its natural source, which is White Willow Bark (Salix Alba, for the Latin geeks out there). BHAs, like salicylic acid, are total, anti-acne superstars. Anti-inflammatory and exfoliating, BHAs get right down into your pores – shrinking them and clearing them out (bye bye blackheads!). They’re genius, too, at gently removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, leaving it smooth and glowy.
Oh, and don’t let the word ‘acid’ freak you out. Salicylic acid is actually more gentle at doing all of the above than any scrub or cleansing brush.
SO, HOW EXACTLY DOES IT WORK?
One of the many brilliant things about salicylic acid is that it’s oil-soluble, which means it can get deep into your skin to work its magic. Once it gets into the skin, it gently exfoliates and unclogs pores by dissolving the sticky glue that binds oil and dead skin cells together. It also balances oil secretion and acts as a serious anti-inflammatory, reducing the redness and swelling of current blemishes. And helping to prevent future breakouts.
DOES THAT MEAN IT GETS RID OF BLACKHEADS?
Yep! Blackheads are caused by a build-up of dead skin cells and oil inside the pores. When this gunk comes into contact with the air, it oxidises and looks black.
If you’re using a skincare product – like salicylic acid – that effectively exfoliates dead skin cells and helps normalise oil production in the pores, those blackheads are less likely to form in the first place. And any that you have already will quickly become unclogged.
IT HAS OTHER BENEFITS, TOO!
Because it’s such a genius exfoliator, used regularly, salicylic acid will also soften and slough off dead cells on the surface of the skin. And that means? Goodbye dull skin and hello, even-toned, glowy, smoothness! It’s also good news if you’re prone to milia or the keratin plugs known as keratosis pilaris (common on the cheeks of tweens/young teens and often mistaken for spots).
SO, IT’S PERFECT FOR TEENS?
Yes! And older tweens. Anyone with acne- and blackhead-prone skin is going to benefit from this ingredient, because it’s anti-bacterial, gently exfoliating, soothes irritation and prevents new breakouts. But look for products with 1% to 2% salicylic acid, otherwise they won’t be as effective as teen skin needs them to be.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD IT BE USED?
If you’re new to using a BHA, like salicylic acid, start by applying every other day – t-zone only at first – and build up from there. Once your skin is used to it, you can use it every day, ideally in the evening. If you have stubborn blackheads, you’ll get the best results if you work up to using it twice a day.
DO YOU NEED TO WEAR SPF IF YOU’RE USING SALICYLIC ACID?
Yes, particularly if you’re using it in the morning. Salicylic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so use a sunscreen like our Sun Squad Sensitive Skin SPF30 for Face every day.
WHERE CAN I FIND A GREAT SALICYLIC ACID PRODUCT FOR MY TEEN?
Right here! Our Skin Goals Gentle Exfoliating Liquid is a 97% natural formula with 2% Salicylic Acid that’s brilliant at unclogging pores and reducing stubborn blackheads and breakouts. Salicylic Acid and Hibiscus Flower Extract get deep into pores, dissolving excess oil and sweeping away dulling dead skin cells, to leave acne-prone teen faces clearer and smoother. Witch Hazel calms redness and inflammation. Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Cucumber and Green Tea Extract soothe, moisturise and leave skin balanced. This is one of the most effective products in our range, so suitable for older tweens and teens.