Salicylic acid is a powerful exfoliator that regulates sebum production, clears the pores, and helps manage acne outbreaks. The salicylic acid face wash can be a game-changer if you have been battling pimples or acne and have sensitive skin. But before we dive into the details of the benefits of face wash with salicylic acid for skin, side effects, and the wonders it can do, let's first understand what exactly salicylic acid is!

What is Salicylic acid and is it good for the face?

Salicylic acid belongs to a class of compounds known as salicylates and is obtained from willow bark. Salicylic acid is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that improves the texture of acne-prone and oily skin. It is an organic substance and a particular kind of BHA that assists in eliminating dead skin cells, thus, eventually treating acne. It also goes by the name ortho-hydroxybenzoic acid and is used to treat edema, redness, irritation, itching, and skin inflammation. Salicylic acid is a potent gift for oily and acne prone skin as it leaves the skin glowing and smooth and addresses the root causes of breakouts. Numerous products like gels, face masks, body washes, shampoos, and serums also contain salicylic acid for better exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells from the respective parts of the body.

How does salicylic acid face wash work?

Salicylic acid face wash works on the skin by penetrating deeply into the skin and:

  •         Gently exfoliating it
  •         Removing dirt and impurities
  •         Unclogging pores
  •         Preventing acne breakouts
  •         Reducing sebum, and
  •         Giving your skin a glowing effect

What are the benefits of salicylic acid face wash?

Acids have a negative connotation attached to them, however, when used in the right way and quantity, these can entirely change your skin care regimen. There are numerous salicylic acid face wash uses and benefits and it can successfully treat a wide range of skin-related issues. Here are some of the most evident benefits of salicylic acid based face wash

Soothes inflammation:

The salicylic acid face wash contains powerful anti-inflammatory qualities that relieve facial acne, inflammation, and redness. If Salicylic acid is present in the proper proportions in the face wash, it can significantly diminish skin irritation. The soothing qualities of the salicylic acid face wash make it suitable for sensitive skin.

If you have persistent acne issues, visit your dermatologist and then add salicylic acid to your skincare routine.

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles:

Salicylic acid can refine the skin's texture and lessen the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Prolonged use of salicylic acid correctly can give you youthful skin and act as an anti-aging treatment.

Brighten up the Face:

The salicylic acid-based face wash gives the skin a daylong radiant, healthy, and bright look. To remove the dirt, it deeply reaches into the skin follicles and eliminates the skin's dead cells. If used regularly, this face wash can prevent the upsurge of dead skin cells, preserving the skin's youthful appearance for a long period.

Acts as an acne control face wash:

Acne, bacteria and oxygen are old enemies (this is why acne breakouts in clogged pores where there is no fresh air). Salicylic acid clears and exfoliates clogged pores, letting fresh air enter the skin and encouraging an environment that is more oxygen-rich. This prevents the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

However, it's crucial to remember that salicylic acid may only weaken acne-causing bacteria; it cannot kill them completely..

Exfoliates skin:

One of the widely recognized advantages of using a salicylic acid face wash is that it works exceptionally well as a skin exfoliant. It reaches deeper layers of skin and exfoliates  it, unlike other skincare products, which only just address the surface level.

Cleans excess oil:

Salicylic acid is important to clear up excess oil immediately and lower oil levels if you have oily skin. Being an oil-soluble compound, it exfoliates the pore membrane and reduces oil accumulation.

Reduces blemishes and dark acne spots:

The regular use of salicylic acid on the face assists in eliminating dead cells and promotes the growth of new skin cells. It efficiently lightens up and eventually reduces acne marks and blemishes on the skin.


Unlike other chemicals that can only remove the surface of your pores, salicylic acid goes deep inside the pores to remove excess oil and dead skin. Salicylic acid effectively cleans the skin and prevents sebocytes (skin cells that create sebum) from producing excess oil on the skin.

How to choose salicylic acid face wash?

Choose a milder cleanser with salicylic acid concentrations between 0.5% and 1% for ideal results.

How to use salicylic acid face wash?

Do a patch test:

Before applying the product to your face, always test on a small area first! If you notice no reaction after 24 hours, then you are good to go!

Wash your Face using salicylic acid face wash:

While washing your face using salicylic acid-based face wash, avoid getting it in direct touch with your lips, mouth, and eyes.

Less is more:

Use no more than a pea-sized quantity on your entire face. Overusing it may result in skin irritation.

Do not scrub:

Salicylic acid does wonders when it comes to skin exfoliation. Therefore, do not use any physical scrubs to avoid inflammation.

Follow up with a moisturiser and then apply a sunscreen:

To counteract the drying effects of your salicylic acid product, use an oil-free moisturiser afterwards. Don’t forget to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen before heading out in the sun to avoid damage on freshly exfoliated skin.

Additionally, keep in mind that the skin becomes more prone to sun damage after exfoliation, and salicylic acid doesn't block UV radiation. Thus, apply sunscreen daily, and limit your time in the sun if you can.

How often to use salicylic acid face wash?

Irrespective of your skin type, face washes with a 0.5% to 1% concentration of salicylic acid may be used daily.

Who should use salicylic acid face wash?

Although salicylic acid benefits all skin types, oily and acne-prone skin people benefit the most from this substance. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics that assist in relieving irritation, managing acne issues, and preventing new breakouts.

Precautions to be taken before using salicylic acid face wash

Unless otherwise prescribed by your dermatologist, avoid using any of the following products on the same area while using salicylic acid-based products:

  •         Alcohol-containing preparations
  •         Any cosmetic soaps, lotions, or creams that dry the skin
  •         Any product that contains peeling agents
  •         Medicated cosmetics

Does salicylic acid face wash have any side effects?

Salicylic acid is generally thought to be harmless. However, it might slightly irritate the skin initially. Moreover, it may extract too much oil (if highly concentrated), leaving your skin dry and possibly irritated. Additional adverse effects include:

  •         Itching
  •         Hives
  •         Peeling or tingling of the skin
  •         Mild dryness, and
  •         Inflammation

How to prevent the side-effects?

As mentioned earlier, always do a patch test first! Besides, do not forget to apply moisturiser and sunscreen to avoid excessive skin drying. Furthermore, if your skin is sensitive, we recommend you use it under your dermatologist's prescription.


Salicylic acid is a potent element in skin care products that may effectively prevent acne/pimples. Salicylic acid works by dissolving and removing oil and dead skin cells from the skin, which helps clear clogged pores. Skin irritation and peeling are salicylic acid's minor adverse effects. Users should avoid using the product and visit their doctor if they encounter more severe side effects. It might take 6 to 8 weeks for salicylic acid or other acne treatments to start working. Those who do not see an improvement in their acne after this time frame ought to speak with their dermatologist about other treatment alternatives. 


1.Is it safe to use Salicylic Acid every day?

Whether you should use salicylic acid daily or not depends on the product you are using it in. For example, if you use it in a serum (for exfoliation), use it 2-3 days a week. If you use it in a face wash, you may use it 2 to 3 times a day.

2.What to look for in salicylic acid face wash for treating acne?

If you want to treat acne look for salicylic acid and niacinamide face wash.

3.Is Salicylic acid face wash safe for all skin types?

Although salicylic acid benefits all skin types, it works best on oily and acne-prone skin.

4.Does Salicylic Acid face wash remove pimples?

Yes, the salicylic acid face wash is quite helpful in treating acne and avoiding new outbreaks. It is an exfoliant to keep your skin clear by cleansing clogged pores and clearing dead skin cells.

5.Does Salicylic Acid face wash help in brightening skin?

Its dead skin cell removal quality ultimately gives you bright, glowing, and smooth skin.

6.Can acne-prone skin use Salicylic acid face wash?

Salicylic acid face wash for whiteheads, minor acne, pimples, and blackheads can be an effective treatment. Furthermore, it helps to reduce excessive sebum production, hence preventing acne.

7.Does Salicylic Acid face wash remove blackheads?

Salicylic acid face wash for blackheads and whiteheads is beneficial since it dissolves the substances that block pores.

8.How long does Salicylic Acid face wash take to clear skin?

Salicylic acid begins to function in about 2-3 weeks, and it takes around 2-3 months for the full effects to manifest. This powerful antioxidant lessens hyperpigmentation and increases skin collagen. In 4-6 weeks, you’ll start seeing a brighter complexion, but it will take about 3-4 months to see real improvements in skin texture and dark spots.