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If there’s one thing the pandemic has managed to bring back, it’s the memories of our biggest teenage nightmare: Blemish-ridden skin. To combat that, here are the best salicylic acid products for Indian skin.

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 India’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, reducing pore blockages in the long run.

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.

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.

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

1
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, Rs 950 (approx)

The Ordinary continues its unique brand of no-nonsense products with this 2% treatment solution in a clear gel format. It’s another super affordable way to incorporate salicylic acid into your routine, especially if you’re still on the fence. It works efficiently to exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes for visibly improved skin clarity.

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2
Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, Rs 7,500 ( approx)

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.

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3
COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser, Rs 850

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.

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4
Dot & Key Zit Zapping Skin Clarifying Face Serum, Rs 975

Dot and Key has been impressing us lately with their interesting product ranges. And this zit-zapping face serum is another one on the list that will fit well with oily skin. It contains neem that unclogs pores and clarifies your skin, while keeping it healthy and well-nourished. It even contains tee tree oil that tackles blemishes.

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5
Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum, Rs 4,700

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.

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6
Kiehl's Blue Herbal Blemish Cleanser Treatment, Rs 2,200

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.

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7
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, Rs 3,400

Murad is now in India and that means blemish-free skin with their very efficient exfoliating cleanser. This one contains Salicylic, Glycolic, and Lactic acid combination to give you softer, smoother, acne-free skin. The inclusion of jojoba beads helps in the exfoliation process and it’s a great anti-ageing cleanser as well.

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8
Neemli Naturals Glycolic & Salicylic Acid Serum, Rs 1,950

At Neemli, their popular Glycolic & Salicylic Serum is known to be a multi-functional superstar. It has many functions, from giving you brighter, more clearer skin to taking care of  dead skin cells. If you want to calm your skin and get rid of clogged pores, this is the one to reach out to. It penetrates deep into the skin, pulls out dirt and excess sebum from pores – making it work on acne-prone skin well.

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9
Dr Sheth's Neem & BHA Spot Clarifying Serum, Rs 750

Dr Sheth’s Neem & BHA Spot Clarifying Serum comes with 2% Salicylic acid and antibacterial Neem Oil and it’s a well-known fact that these two ingredients work beautifully together on oily, acne prone skin. The serum is known to work well on blemishes and clogged pores too, giving you radiant skin in a few weeks.

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10
Budget Buy: WOW Skin Science Blemish Care Serum, Rs 499

If you’re looking at an affordable solution for acne spots, scars and blemishes, this bottle is the one to reach for. It is a pore-minimizing and spot-reducing serum, and even works on hyperpigmentation. A lightweight serum, makes the skin look supple and even-toned and is infused with salicylic acid, calamine, willow bark extract, camphor essential oil and tea tree essential oil.

Featured image: Getty Images

The story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

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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.