How Salicylic Acid Works

How Salicylic Acid Works

Anyone who has done their best to take care of their skin typically knows that salicylic acid works. It is a go-to ingredient in various acne scrubs and that means anyone who has suffered a breakout has probably reached for it at one point. Knowing that it works is only one part of understanding this beta hydroxy acid though. Why does it work? The beauty and skin care industries didn’t just stumble across it and start using it at random in the last decade. OROGOLD is going to take the time to explain how this acid works and why it enjoys such common use. It is all well and good to recognize a useful ingredient, but it is always better to know how it works as well.

It Penetrates the Skin’s Defenses
As an acid, salicylic acid is capable of dissolving away various items. This includes the skin’s natural oils. These natural oils are actually one of the major causes of breakouts and that is partly why the acid is so useful. Other oils can help sweep them away, but salicylic acid actually “eats” them away. This allows it to get inside pores more effectively than other compounds. Once inside the pores it is able to in turn dissolve grime and other build up within the pores to clean them out. This helps ensure there is less for natural oils to bind to and in turn clog pores. The natural drying effects of this aspect of the acid are highly beneficial in skin care, but are also why you need to moisturize after using this kind of chemical exfoliant. Your skin will react adversely and produce more oil than it did before if it feels it is too dry.

It Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
One lesser know property of salicylic acid is that once it penetrates the skin it can help soothe inflammation caused by acne and other skin conditions. This helps soothe the skin back into normal behavior instead of continuing to react adversely. The acid helps clear things out of the way on its own, but what causes this effect is the fact that it shares a high chemical similarity to aspirin. When enough of the compound passes through the skin topically, you end up with calmer skin. OROGOLD would like to highlight that this is why people who create their own skin care products often incorporate a crushed aspirin. We suggest sticking to industry maintained levels of salicylic acid and its siblings though. Acids work best in particular concentrations and overshooting them can damage your skin in a lasting way.

It Softens Skin
Dead skin cells are dissolved by salicylic acid as readily as oils. This is why it gets used as a prominent chemical exfoliant. This isn’t the full story though. As useful as the acid is as an exfoliant, it also affects living skin cells as well. Particular skin conditions cause excessively dry, scaly, and hard skin. These are often difficult to deal with and react poorly to standard skin routine solutions like pure exfoliation. Salicylic acid can help remove the upper layers of dry, dead skin in this cases and further soften the lower layers as part of a treatment. You’ll often find prescription preparations using salicylic acid used to treat conditions like psoriasis as a result. The added benefit in the case of conditions where the underlying cause is a kind of inflammation is that they also benefit from the acid’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Acids are useful in skin care for a variety of reasons and salicylic acid is one of the most useful. Its use has been supported time and time again by professionals and its flexibility means it is useful to many people. OROGOLD again stresses caution when it comes to using products with a high concentration of this and other acids. Acids do well by the skin, but you need to use them precisely as directed and remember to moisturize effectively afterwards. Hopefully this quick overview has given you an idea of how one of skin care’s favorite ingredients actually works and gives you a new appreciation for the care put into selecting what goes into your products.


Add yours
  1. 1
    Teresa Miller

    It’s always great to learn about the ingredients that are found in your skin care products. I feel it’s important to know what those ingredients actually do. This article clearly explained how and why beta hydroxy is in Orogold’s deep peeling product. It’s an amazing product that really works like it claims to!

  2. 3
    Dorothy McGuire

    As an aesthetician it is very important to be aware of the chemicals are in the products they use and how they affect the client. Orogold shares this same philosophy by listing the full ingredients of their product and educate their consumer of the how and why their product works on there skin.

  3. 10
    Bear Wheat

    I do own this product and I am amazed by the difference of my face. After a treatment it so refreshed and soft & looks yonger. What I like also about this product is the small amount you use and that a fast treatment is all that is needed. This is defintely the type of product that is a must have. ( although I love all the products I have)

  4. 15


  5. 16
    cynthia knisely

    I would like to try Orogold deep peeling. I learned salicylic acid cleans pores and calms the skin. It also exfoliates upper layer of dry, dead skin cells. This will help my other products work better. Also make my skin more radiant.

  6. 17
    Claudette Lariviere

    Orogold I truly never completly understood salicylic acid the review here detailing exactly how it works on and with your skin (the imflammitory agent for healing) has given me a really clear knowledge of exactly how it works. I know at 54 I am in need of the dead skin cells… I have used creams and lotions …. Total reality check today … Thank u

  7. 19
    MargaretAnn Rice

    At my age of 70, my skin needs more help than I have given it. I would love to try something that will remove the dry, dead skin cells and soften my skin at the same time. I seem to have two specific areas on my face that are so dry and nothing I do has helped yet.

  8. 21

    Great article. I learned something new from it. I have used several products containing salicylic acid. One is an astringent that is available in all the department stores. The article explains why after I use it, I find my skin much oilier after a few hours. I need to also use a moisturizer because the astringent causes natural drying effects that makes my skin react adversely and produce more oil if it is too dry.

  9. 26
    Mary Songer

    This article was fascinating for several reasons. I’ve of course heard of salicylic acid but I didn’t fully realize what it did for my skin and how I need to use it. One thing I found that was very important was that if I use it and then don’t moisturize afterward the oils back worse than before use. It doesn’t surprise me that OROGOLD is again educating me. Thank you OROGOLD.

  10. 29
    Carla W.

    Very helpful information. Seems my skin is getting drier day after day. I can not seem t find anything that works. I try to keep it moisturized but even that is not helping.

  11. 32
    sue lee

    I love to read about those kind of ingredient that we put on our skin. I tend to buy product that have the ingredient that I want, not just the brand itself or base on the words that people say. That is how I know what is good and what is not good for me.

  12. 34
    Sandy Weinstein

    i use several products that have salicylic acid in them, it helps to clear the skin as well as exfolitate, it also helps with little breakouts. it helps get rid of dead skin and open the pores.

  13. 36
    Sarah R

    24K deep peeling is amazing, I’ve just used it for the 1st time at the newly opened Sydney George street store. My skin feels amazing and it was such a quick and simple peel to use!

  14. 38

    Oh my God! I’ve tested OroGold Deep Cleaning cream and cleanser and they worked great on my skin. I loved how everytime I clean my face, deadskin would really come off and it didn’t hurt at all. It’s better than getting a facial with those harsh chemicals stinging my face.

  15. 40

    I have used products that contain salicylic acid in the past but I never knew the mechanism by which it worked. Knowing this information is very helpful, thank you for sharing this post.

  16. 41
    Oksana V.

    Thank you so much, really usefull article. I have always used salicylic acid to calm my pores and get out the oil but I forgot that they need be more moisturized after the acid.

  17. 42
    Vanessa Brooks

    Having dry skin during winter time and oily all year round,
    It’s so hard to do my makeup without it creasing, sliding around, and the flakes of dry skin showing. I’d love to try a skin product that would help me with my problems, I’ve sampled at the mall and it just worked so well. And it’s great learning about the product and what’s inside of it, thanks for posting. ❤️

  18. 43
    Christy Peeples DuBois

    I appreciate that some ingredients that have been around for years are still being used for a simple reason-it works. I do use it in my oily acne prone skin but let professionals like you determine the amount that works best in your products and trust that for my skin. I do like to know how and why ingredients are used. Thank you for a great explanation.

  19. 47
    Liz G

    I love this post! I’ve been using salicylic acid for years but never had the chance to read such a detailed explanation about it. And I totally recommend Orogold’s exfoliation products. It’s impressive how you can actually see your dead skin coming off.

  20. 51

    i guess its good to get rid of those dead skin cells & i always follow up w a moisterizer…would love some top of the line stuff..or to get a real professional facial treatment done

  21. 54
    gloria patterson

    Guess it is my age showing when I read ACID I think ACID. I don’t think of it as something to be used on your face. I am finding that I am behind in what is in and what is the best in beauty products. I learned something interesting things about salicylic acid

  22. 57
    Cheryll Shubert

    How amazing that it actually gets into your pores and cleans them out! I think one of the major skin issues that women face is clogged pores. When your pores are clogged, your skin suffers tremendously and i think it actually ages you plus it’s a great way to get those disgusting blackheads! This is the best skincare line that I have ever tried!! Immediate results leaving you with soft, clean, clear skin!! Huge fan of Orogold!! Thanks so much for the informative review!! I really learned a lot!!

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