I have always suffered with problematic skin. When I was a teenager, I started to get those big, red, angry spots under the skin. Classic teenage acne. I also started to notice my open pores and some congestion. As we all do when we’re young, I didn’t take too much notice of it, but it did get me down from time to time. So, my mom went out and brought me some skincare for teens. On one hand, at least I was starting to use skincare, but on the other hand, it wasn’t great and didn’t really work too well. So, as I got older, and my skin kept changing, and I learnt more about skincare, and eventually pursued a career very focused around it, I got to know some great ingredients to look out for.
Now I’m in my early twenties, my skin has calmed down a lot, but I do still get the occasional breakout around my chin and cheek areas, and still have that congestion and open pore problem around my nose. I combat this by using a lot of products with Salicylic Acid in them, as it is one of my favourite ingredients in skincare.
Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid, it penetrates deep into your skin and works by dissolving the dead skin cells and sebum that are clogging your pores. It is actually derived from Willow Bark, and its structure is important, as it makes it more oil-soluable, meaning it can easily get into the pores of your skin. Meaning, it works by cleaning deep, deep down. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory that helps red, angry breakouts clear a lot faster. Whereas Alpha Hydroxy Acid ingredients such as Lactic Acid is great for exfoliating the top of the skin and sloughing off those top, old dead skin cells.
Although it is a great ingredient for fighting Blackheads and Whiteheads, my advice would be that, if you have cystic acne, then by all means try using one or two products containing Salicylic Acid, but you may need something a little stronger for the best long-term effects, so always go and see your GP for more medical based advice.
Some great products contain Salicylic Acid include the MediK8 Surface Radiance Cleanse (one of my personal favourites). Not only does it contain Salicylic Acid, but it also has Lactic Acid as well, meaning you are getting that surface, and deep down cleanse. Best of both!
This Works Evening Detox Spray On Exfoliant is an easy leave on exfoliator that contains Salicylic Acid that helps to exfoliate the skin, keeping it clean, fresh and clear. Great for anyone working in a city, or a polluted environment that means their skin feels heavy after a long day at work.
Dermalogica’s Retinol Clearing Oil is a high-performance night oil that combines Retinol and Salicylic Acid (two powerhouse ingredients for fighting acne and scarring) into a soothing, light formula that helps combat acne, scarring and the beginning of fine lines.
Lastly, the REN Clean Skincare Clearcalm Non-Drying Spot Treatment is a product that I love to use at the end of my REN Bespoke Facials that we offer at our salon. I just pop it on any breakouts my clients may have, and it even uses Willow Bark to naturally help reduces redness, inflammation and spot size.
I would 100% suggest that if you suffer with acne, breakouts, blackheads etc, that you look into Salicylic Acid and try it out for yourself.