Choosing the right body cleanser can play a major role in your skin’s appearance and health. In this blog we are going to talk about Salicylic acid body wash, how it is different from traditional soaps, and what factors you should consider before picking one or the other.

Understanding salicylic acid body washes

Salicylic acid body washes are cleansers that contain salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA).

Here's how salicylic acid works in body washes:

Exfoliation: Salicylic acid in exfoliating body wash helps shed dead skin cells, promoting smoother and brighter skin.

Acne control: It unclogs pores and reduces excess oil, which can help prevent and treat body acne (breakouts on your back, chest, shoulders, etc.).

These washes are particularly helpful for people with:

  • Body acne: If you struggle with breakouts on your body, you can use salicylic acid body wash for body acne treatment.
  • Oily skin: If your skin tends to be oily, salicylic acid can help regulate oil production.

Things to consider:

  • Concentration: Salicylic acid concentration in body washes typically ranges from 1% to 2%. 
  • Skin type: If you have sensitive skin, start with a lower concentration and use the wash less frequently (maybe every other day) to avoid irritation.
  • Moisturizing: Follow up with a body cream after showering for smoother skin texture.

Understanding Traditional soaps

Traditional soaps, unlike their modern counterparts, are typically made with a simpler and more natural approach. Here's a breakdown of what they're about:


Fats and oils: The base of traditional soap comes from natural fats and oils like olive, coconut, palm, or vegetable tallow. These are combined with an alkali, most commonly:

  • Lye (sodium hydroxide): This creates a harder bar soap.
  • Potash (potassium hydroxide): This results in a softer soap, sometimes used for liquid or shaving soaps.

Things to consider:

pH level: Some traditional soaps can have a higher pH level, which might not be ideal for all skin types.

Comparison between salicylic acid body washes & Traditional soaps

While both traditional soaps and salicylic acid body washes cleanse your body, they target different needs. Here's why salicylic acid body wash might be a better choice for acne-prone or oily skin:

Focus on Acne & Oil Control

Salicylic Acid Body Wash: Salicylic acid, is a BHA that excels at:

  • Exfoliation: It loosens dead skin cells and unclogs pores, preventing breakouts.
  • Oil control: It regulates sebum (oil) production, reducing greasiness and the chance of clogged pores.

Traditional Soap: While some soaps may remove surface oil, they generally don't target clogged pores or promote deeper exfoliation like salicylic acid.


Salicylic Acid Body Wash: Salicylic acid is a gentler beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and can exfoliate your skin without drying it out if the concentration of salicylic acid is 1-2%.

Traditional Soap: Some traditional soaps can have a higher pH level that might be drying for some skin types.


Salicylic acid body washes often come in formulas with additional ingredients like glycerin for hydrating the skin. Traditional soaps typically offer less customization.


Body washes are generally considered more hygienic due to their bottled format. Traditional bar soaps can harbour bacteria if not stored properly.


Salicylic acid tackles clogged pores and excess oil, preventing breakouts and promoting smoother skin. Traditional soaps may not provide the same level of exfoliation and oil control needed.


1.What if I have sensitive skin and want to use a salicylic acid body wash?

Use a lower concentration of salicylic acid (1%) and use the wash less frequently to minimize irritation. Patch testing is always recommended before using any new product, especially for sensitive skin.

2.Do traditional soaps help with acne?

Not typically. While they can remove surface oil, they don't target clogged pores or promote deep exfoliation like salicylic acid.