If there’s a very particular memory the pandemic has brought back, it is this one: our biggest teenage nightmares of blemish-ridden skin and acne.

If you’ve been out and about, chances are you would’ve experienced maskne, a skin woe that has swept the world by storm. Call it a sign of the times, but unless you’re committed to staying home mask-free, these acne flare-ups that are caused by irritation from wearing a mask won’t be going away anytime soon. Add in Bangkok’s heat and humidity, and you’ve got a petri dish for breakouts.

For this, we’re revisiting one of the biggest heroes of any teenage skin routine: Salicylic acid. This blemish-fighting powerhouse is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s naturally sourced from plants such as willow tree bark, wintergreen leaves, or sweet birch bark. As the only BHA in the market (as opposed to alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs), this skincare acid penetrates follicles to breakdown oil build-up, and reducing pore blockages in the long run.

[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Dermalogica]

Image Credit: Ekaterina Bolovtsova/Pexels

While previously written off as strictly for acne, salicylic acid products have also started to gain momentum for also treating a myriad of other skin concerns. The exfoliant works by softening and dissolving keratin — the protein in our skin that causes cells to stick together — making the dead cells much easier to slough off while reducing the pH of the skin. Because it’s fat-soluble, it also penetrates deep instead of hanging out on the surface to loosen clogged pores while hydrating the skin, priming the skin to fight acne and blemishes before it happens.

From face cleansers to on-the-spot gels, here are the best salicylic acid products to appease the angriest of blemishes today.

A little disclaimer though: Salicylic acid might be suitable for all skin types but because it belongs to the same family as aspirin, those with allergies should still steer clear of it.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.

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Formulated with a powerhouse blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids, alongside raspberry extract and horse chestnut, this serum delivers an effective level of chemical exfoliation without harsh side effects. This topical treatment by Drunk Elephant also boasts an ideal pH of 3.8, which lies within the BHA sweet spot for effectiveness. For better results, mix with the brand’s Virgin Marula Oil for a dose of moisture and barrier-boosting fatty acids.

Price: THB 3470

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2

The Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser from Cosrx is as gentle as they come and that helps with acne and blemishes and makes sure your skin is not stripped and clogged. Formulated with 0.5% Salicylic Acid (BHA) it draws out excess sebum while preventing blackheads, and well, it’s known to calm down the skin. It contains purifying ingredients such as Kudzu Extract that really help reduce pores too.

Price: THB 410

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If you’re looking for something that clears skin and tackles breakouts, then you must look at this Age Bright Clearing Serum from Dermalogica. It brightens, clears, and tackles blemishes, all while taking care of your anti-ageing needs. It also contains niacin amide alongside salicylic acid so expect lots more.

Price: THB 2310

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This popular cleanser is known to purify pores and remove traces of dirt and debris — it works beautifully on oily and combination skin. It is, of course, inspired by the iconic Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion which means reduces blackheads, whiteheads and perfect for skin that needs a pick-me-up.

Price: THB 801

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Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.