Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that acts as an exfoliant. It’s particularly useful in sloughing off dead skin cells that’s responsible for clogging up pores and causing pimples. Salicylic acid also has the ability to reach into the pores as well, making it even more effective at reducing breakouts and reducing the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
As with most products that exfoliate skin, it is best to use them in moderation and caution should be exercised when using with other products like physical scrubs and other chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid. Start with the lowest strength (about 0.5 per cent) and work your way up. Most over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments go up to 2 per cent and it’s useful to note that using salicylic acid is useful well after your pimples have healed as they can prevent future breakouts.