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Why Is There Acid In Some Skincare Products? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the newest edition of The Why.  “Why is there acid in some skincare products?” you ask? Good question. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why does my boyfriend insist that his ‘stuff’ is good for the skin?”)


S.A. won’t hurt you/Image: SheAndStyle

If we understand your question, you probably are concerned about salicylic acid. Good for you reading the list of ingredients on things. Some people won’t do that even if they have hardcore allergies which makes them either stupid or lazy . . . or maybe both. Anyway, first let’s define what salicylic acid actually is.

Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin. Wikipedia

Salicylic acid contains anti-inflammatory ingredients. Board certified and L’Oreal Paris consulting dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner told HP salicylic acid is commonly used to treat numerous skin problems because it has drying and antibacterial effects.

It also has the ability to declog whiteheads and blackheads because it breaks up cells that “stick together in the inner lining of the skin pore” according to a spokesperson for Sebamed skincare products. A stronger salicylic acid can also be directly applied to the skin to obtain a “peel” effect. If the skin does not actually peel it will still help start the healing process.


S.A. won’t hurt you if used correctly/Image: BeautyWaterIndonesia

Dermatologists agree that salicylic acid loosens blackheads, reduces skin discoloration from previous breakouts and reduces the amount of oil in the skin as well. Finally, it’s a common ingredient in exfoliating products. It sloughs off dead skin and it decreases inflammation and serves as a preventive measure against future breakouts.

Not all acid is bad for you. Not all of it will make you look like Two-Face, mmmkay? (Google if you missed the Batman reference.)

Why is there acid in some skincare products? Now you know.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.