As one of the leading ingredients in skin care products for acne, salicylic acid is proven to not only reduce breakouts, but also keep them from coming back. This beta hydroxy acid, derived from willow bark, is purifying and oil-soluble, allowing it to effectively penetrate the skin and get to the root cause of acne inflammation. However, this isn’t all you get when you use this substance on your skin. In fact, there’s a multitude of additional benefits of using salicylic acid to treat acne and, in general, just having it in your skin care routine.

Cleans and Unclogs Pores

Acne is primarily the result of clogged and inflamed pores, so these toxins must be cleared out before the skin can start healing. When applied to affected areas, salicylic acid sinks deep within the skin and begins dissolving everything from dead cells to dirt and oil. This provides your face with a much more thorough clean and eliminates the source of further breakouts. Additionally, while people often use salicylic acid to treat full cystic acne, it’s also effective on smaller blemishes such as blackheads or whiteheads.

Eliminates Excess Oil in the Skin

Salicylic acid also works to absorb some of the excess oils clogging it. This is particularly helpful for people with oilier skin because the overproduction of oils can also block pores and allow toxins to fester. However, if you already have dry or sensitive skin, it’s important to mention that this ingredient may further dry out your complexion. This can result in discomfort, itchiness, and even peeling skin if you don’t keep your skin properly hydrated.

Promotes Exfoliation and Circulation

Another crucial benefit of using salicylic acid to treat acne is that as it dissolves dirt and oil, it also exfoliates your skin and promotes increased blood circulation. The chemical reaction between this acid and the dirt in your pores acts as a microscopic massage treatment—loosening the debris trapped in the recesses of your skin. This movement of your cells also encourages additional blood flow and leaves skin not only cleaner, but also healthier as a result.

Reduces the Appearance of Scars

Salicylic acid is more often used for treating active breakouts, but it can also reduce the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. During the cleaning process, this ingredient minimizes the size of the pores by tightening the skin around them. This prevents other debris from building up again and irritating the skin. This same effect allows the acid to also assist in evening out the skin tone and making scars smaller.