Everything you need to know about salicylic acid.

The natural source of salicylic acid is the white willow (Latin Salix alba), and basically its roots. It is a derivative of benzoic acid. The salicin present in it is transformed in a chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis reaction into saligenation. This, in turn, is oxidized to salicylic acid. The synthetic preparation of salicylic acid consists in a two-stage reaction of sou phenolate, which, under the influence of carbon dioxide, is transformed into sodium salicylate and acidified, and thus we obtain salicylic acid.

In plants, salicylic acid has the function of growth and also delaying the aging of leaves. Today, salicylic acid is used in many fields of natural sciences: physiology, biochemistry and biotechnology of plants, but also in medical sciences - veterinary medicine and pharmacognosy - a department of pharmacy dealing with raw materials of plant origin. This also includes the broadly understood field of aesthetic medicine.

What is salicylic acid?

Salicylic Acid - because under this name there is salicylic acid in the composition of the products, it is included in the group of hydroxy acids, and more precisely to beta-hydroxy acids and as the only acid BHA is used in cosmetics.

As mentioned earlier, salicylic acid was extracted from the roots of white willow, but it also naturally occurs in poplar bark, silver birch leaves, raspberries, and chamomile flowers.

Salicylic acid is poorly soluble in water, but reacts very well with fats and ethyl alcohol. Used on a large scale in pharmacy, for example in the production of aspirin as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic acid, or as a disinfectant and antiseptic.

In higher concentrations - 10-20%, it has a keratolytic effect, which contributes to its use in aesthetic medicine offices and clinics as a chemical peeling.

Properties of salicylic acid

Some people mistakenly associate salicylic acid with salicylic alcohol, which strongly dries the skin. Yes, salicylic acid is dissolved in ethyl alcohol, but it is only 2% of the solution, where ethanol and water are 68 and 30%, respectively.

  • Salicylic acid is used in products and preparations intended for the care and treatment of the skin, including the head and feet.
  • Has a strong antibacterial and antifungal effect.
  • It is widely used in anti-dandruff and psoriasis preparations, eg in soaps, powders and shampoos.
  • Thanks to its ability to dissolve in fats, it penetrates the layers of the skin and can reach the hair follicles, which is of great importance in the treatment of acne.

Salicylic acid in skin care

The main task of salicylic acid is to cleanse the skin of bacteria and avoid inflammatory foci on the skin. Thanks to the ability to penetrate the skin layers through the sebaceous layer, it perfectly cleanses the skin of all blackheads and efflorescences, but also narrows the pores. It also reduces the production of sebum when dealing with oily or combination skin. The high concentration of salicylic acid makes it have the ability to gently exfoliate, destroying protein connections between corneocytes, thanks to which it facilitates the detachment and dissolution of old and calloused epidermis. The properties of salicylic acid give great possibilities for people struggling with acne, eczema and numerous inflammations. It also supports the treatment of scars and severe rosacea, evens out skin tone and pigmentation changes, and helps fight against some dermatological changes due to excessive keratinization of the epidermis and inflammation, e.g. psoriasis or dandruff.

In addition, salicylic acid stimulates skin cell renewal, thanks to which its color and structure are significantly improved. It facilitates the penetration of other preparations, which can be used as a pre-treatment stage in complex therapy.

It is suitable not only for combination, oily and problematic skin. It is also dedicated to people with thin and dry skin - of course in appropriate concentrations. An ideal solution for all people who want to cleanse their skin of blackheads, exposed to the adverse effects of external factors, with blackheads and enlarged pores.


Benefits of Salicylic Acid

  • Cleansing and narrowing of the skin's sebaceous glands - preventing the formation of skin eruptions, reducing acne,
  • Accelerating the process of regeneration and healing of inflammations and irritations,
  • Regulation of cell renewal,
  • Exfoliating effect of calloused epidermis,
  • Reduction of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by sun rays,
  • Removal of shallow acne scars and hypertrophic scars,
  • Improvement of the skin structure - increasing the density and production of collagen,
  • Improving the action of other cosmetic preparations - the skin prepared in this way better absorbs the active ingredients contained in them,
  • Prevents ingrown hairs and inflammation of the hair follicles during depilation and shaving.

Salicylic acid - warnings

  • Preparations based on salicylic acid cannot be used by people allergic to salicylates,
  • They cannot be used during pregnancy and lactation,
  • After peeling with salicylic acid, temporary burning, irritation, erythema and swelling may occur,


What should be kept in mind when using cosmetics with salicylic acid?

  • Like most chemical acids, salicylic acid increases sensitivity to UV rays, which can unfortunately contribute to skin burns and discoloration. It is then necessary to use creams with an SPF filter with a high level of protection.
  • Creams with salicylic acid are best used at night.
  • Facial tonics with salicylic acid restore the skin's proper pH, but also tighten pores, mattify and prepare the skin for the absorption of active ingredients contained in the cream or serum.
  • To support dermatological treatment, products with salicylic acid can be used during the treatment, but it is worth giving it up after its completion to minimize the risk of recurrence of inflammatory changes.
  • Salicylic acid should be used in moderation and in the doses described by the manufacturer. It is also worth contacting a specialist for this purpose to choose the right products for our skin.

Chemical peeling based on salicylic acid

To ensure maximum safety of the procedure, professional peelings use salicylic acid with a concentration of 10-30% and a pH of about 3. The peeling itself is kept on the skin for a short time, about 2 minutes. After the treatment, there is exfoliation of the epidermis with varying degrees of intensity - depending on the concentration of the preparation used.

The effects of the treatment are visible practically after one treatment, however, it is recommended to perform a series of 4-6 treatments every 10-14 days.


Application of the peeling:

  • Exfoliation and removal of calloused epidermis,
  • Cellular renewal,
  • Supporting the treatment of acne,
  • Folliculitis therapy,
  • Evening out skin tone,
  • Fighting the symptoms of photoaging,
  • Regulation of released sebum,
  • Accelerating the disappearance of blemishes,
  • Fighting small acne scars,
  • Increasing the effectiveness of other cosmetics,
  • Reduction of fine wrinkles.