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Home > Beauty & Grooming > Skincare > 13 salicylic acid face washes your acne-prone skin will thank you for
13 salicylic acid face washes your acne-prone skin will thank you for

Maintaining the health of acne-prone and oily skin is no child’s play. It is a full-time job with your skin asking for constant care and attentive indulgence in beauty products to avoid worsening its condition. However, like there’s always a solution for everything in life, there’s also one for all your oily skin and acne concerns — salicylic acid.

A chemical exfoliant beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid is derived from the bark of willow trees. It is an oil-soluble natural ingredient that’s a great exfoliator and is considered to be a game changer for people with acne and related oily-skin issues. It is commonly used topically in the form of over-the-counter skincare products (approved up to two percent by the FDA) and can be incorporated into your skincare routine in the form of a face serum, peeling solutions, toners and face masks, among others.

However, one of the best and safest ways to harness the benefits of this BHA is by using a salicylic acid-based face wash, especially if you are a beginner. It not only ensures a shorter skin contact (when compared to toners and serums) but while cleansing your face, you’d be literally rinsing off the dead skin cells, which is an added advantage. But before finding out more about some of the best salicylic acid face washes, let’s understand why it is an important item among your skin care products.

Benefits of using salicylic acid face wash

Salicylic acid works by penetrating deep into your pores and cleaning them of impurities, excess oil and acne-causing bacteria. This not only regulates oil production but also reduces active acne and helps in preventing future breakouts.

It also exfoliates the skin by sloughing off the dead skin cells, which in turn lends you an even-toned complexion and texture. This also means reduced dark spots, blemishes and acne scars.

Furthermore, salicylic acid is also an anti-inflammatory that alleviates acne-induced redness and calms your itchy and irritated skin.

Know complete details on Face washes In India

Your guide to finding the best salicylic acid face wash for your skin

(Main Image Courtesy: Miriam Alonso/Pexels ; Featured Image Courtesy: Caudalie)

Combining salicylic acid, LHA, oat extract, zinc and allantoin makes this face wash by Minimalist. It is a gentle exfoliating cleanser that aims at unclogging pores, reducing sebum and preventing breakouts without drying out the skin. Free from sulphate and fragrances, this cleanser is suitable for all skin types. However, it’s ideal for oily, combination and acne-prone skin.

Image: Courtesy Minimalist

A salicylic acid and glycolic acid face wash by The Derma Co, the 3 percent AHA-BHA Foaming Face Wash provides a soothing and gentle exfoliation while cleansing your skin. Also enriched with mandelic acid, this cleanser deeply penetrates the skin to decongest pores and removes dirt, impurities and dead skin cells. It leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated, brighter and healthier.

Image: Courtesy The Derma Co

A powerful acne treatment in the form of a cleanser, this face wash with salicylic acid makes for a highly popular pick amongst people with acne-prone skin. While the BHA fights and prevents active acne and future breakouts, the MicroClear technology boosts its delivery into the skin. It does not leave the skin feeling dry or irritated; instead, it has a very soothing effect.

Image: Courtesy Neutrogena

The Deconstruct Oil Control face wash is formulated with 0.5 percent salicylic acid and one percent niacinamide that works together to deeply cleanse your skin. It also controls sebum production and prevents comedones and blackheads with its light yet effective gel formula. It is free from parabens, silicones, SLS, phthalates and fragrances and has a pH of 4.0 to 5.5.

Image: Courtesy Deconstruct

Formulated with 0.5 percent salicylic acid, the Pore Normalizing Cleanser by Paula’s Choice gently fights acne, unclogs pores and removes impurities and makeup effortlessly. It does not dry out the skin or cause redness and irritation. Additionally, its gel texture is refreshing and calming, which leaves you with soothing skin.

Image: Courtesy Paula’s Choice

A salicylic acid face wash that also includes ingredients like zinc, copper minerals and Vichy Volcanic Water, the Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel is a dermatologist-tested formula. This cleanser manages current acne while preventing new ones, rids you of blackheads and unclogs pores while leaving you with visibly purified skin and an even tone and texture. Its translucent gel-to-foam formula does not dry out the skin and lends it a soft feel.

Image: Courtesy Vichy

The Acne Avert Cleansing Mousse by Dermafique is infused with a Bio-Intel system that disrupts the Biofilms formed by acne-causing bacteria. The oil-free and soap-free formula clears pores and excess sebum, heals blemishes and reduces the occurrence of acne. It is a dermatologist-tested face wash that’s formulated without parabens and silicones.

Image: Courtesy Dermafique

Targeting acne-prone skin concerns with ingredients like natural salicylic acid, organic grape water and essential oils, this gel cleanser by Caudalie would be a great addition to your skincare routine. Treating your clogged, enlarged pores and oily skin, this face wash has a very fresh and luminous effect on the skin. Free from sulphates, soap, alcohol and fragrance, the formula is certified organic, non-comedogenic, non-photosensitising and vegan.

Image: Courtesy Caudalie

Managing all your oily-skin concerns perfectly is this salicylic acid foaming face wash by Mamaearth. It’s an antibacterial cleanser that gently removes excess oil and fights acne to give you rejuvenated skin. It comes with a built-in silicone brush that ensures deep penetration and easy application of the product into the skin. This face wash has no harmful chemicals, toxins or mineral oils in its make.

Image: Courtesy Mamaearth

The Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser ensures clean pores and diminished acne even after it has been rinsed off. Ideal for oily, combination and sensitive skin, this cleanser is formulated with two types of salicylic acid — a free form that starts working immediately and an encapsulated form that works even post-rinse. The blend also consists of green tea extract that helps soothe and calm skin irritation.

Image: Courtesy Murad

A salicylic acid-based face wash, the Cosrx Daily Gentle Cleanser is a nourishing wash that treats and prevents breakouts. The formulation also includes a potent blend of willow bark water and tea tree oil. Apart from deeply cleansing the skin, this face wash also replenishes it and gives a soft, visibly clearer and glowing complexion.

Image: Courtesy Cosrx

Aveeno Clear Complexion is a salicylic acid foaming face wash for sensitive skin that has a gentle formula to clear blemishes and maintain a well-balanced skin. It treats acne without overdrying the skin while moisture-rich soy evens out the skin tone and texture. It’s an oil-free and hypoallergenic face wash that’s also non-comedogenic and soap-free.

Image: Courtesy Aveeno

A two percent salicylic acid face wash for acne, this purifying cleanser by Kaya is best suited for oily, combination and acne-prone skin. From gently cleansing your pores and exfoliating dead skin cells to eliminating acne-causing bacteria, this face wash does it all. Your skin would not feel dry or stretchy post-use.

Image: Courtesy Kaya

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Is salicylic acid good for acne?

Answer: Yes, salicylic acid greatly helps in reducing acne and preventing further breakouts. As an exfoliator, it also unclogs pores and sloughs off dead skin cells, keeping your skin clean. Using a salicylic acid face wash makes for a crucial first step that you’d want to take to treat your acne.

Question: Is salicylic acid good for oily skin?

Answer: Salicylic acid makes for a key ingredient in skincare products meant for oily skin. Some of the most common concerns of oily skin are excess sebum, clogged pores and acne. And this BHA helps in managing such issues by exfoliating deeply and regulating the production of oil.

Question: Does salicylic acid brighten skin?

Answer: Salicylic acid is not a lightning agent but an exfoliating one. However, owing to its exfoliating properties, it enhances the radiance of the skin while removing dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover. This leads to reduced hyperpigmentation, which gives you a more even and brighter complexion.

Question: Does salicylic acid remove dark spots?

Answer: Yes, salicylic acid helps in reducing dark spots, acne marks and blemishes.

Question: Can I use salicylic acid daily?

Answer: While you should introduce salicylic acid gradually into your skincare routine (starting two to three times a week), you can use a salicylic acid face wash that has a low percentage of the ingredient twice daily.

Question: Are there any side effects of using salicylic acid?

Answer: Salicylic acid is considered safe overall. However, when not used in moderation it can cause skin stinging, irritation, itching and peeling skin, especially when starting its use. You should always consult your dermatologist before trying out any new skin care ingredient or do a patch test to check how your skin reacts to it. Also, when using salicylic acid, avoid using retinol-based skincare products along with it.

Divya Arora
An old-school at heart with a taste for contemporary finery, Divya believes in making the best of both worlds. She's a happy-go-lucky person who spends her time reading, Zentangling, or binge-watching. Hogging food & dozing off often comes naturally to her. Also, chai!
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