Treating Acne with Salicylic Acid
Getting rid of acne with salicylic acid is a very common and effective way to moderate the
appearance of acne blemishes and prevents the further development of pimples.
Salicylic acid is a chemical that has been in use for thousands of years by medical experts and holistic doctors
for treating fever, pain, and inflammation, one of the core symptoms of moderate to severe acne. Hippocrates was
the first known scientists to document its effects.
Back in Hippocrates’ time, salicylic acid wasn’t yet used to get rid of acne, though it was well-known as a
treatment for swelling when applied to the skin. Back then, salicylic acid was derived from a naturally occurring
chemical known as salicin that is present in the bark of the willow tree.
Later, it was extracted from the herb meadow sweet. In contemporary medicine, we get salicylic acid by treating
sodium phenolate with carbon dioxide under high heat and pressure to produce a more concentrated version of the
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Today, salicylic acid is available in lotions, gels, creams, soaps, and foams to help people get rid of acne. It
is also available in prescription medications that treat acne because it is one of the best chemicals to do the job
that it is known to do so well.
What does Salicylic Acid do to Get Rid of Acne?
Salicylic acid gets rid of acne through a variety of mechanisms that directly target the causes of acne in the
first place. Generally, all acne forms through the same method: a pore becomes clogged with oil and dead skin
cells; since it is robbed of oxygen, natural pore bacteria that thrive without oxygen begins to grow in number.
This is when the body sends white blood cells to attack the bacteria. By this point, the pore is infected and is
engorged with all sorts of oil, debris, and pus.
By using it early enough in the life cycle of a pimple, the chemical compounds in salicylic acid effectively
stops the cycle and helps to get rid of acne that has already formed. First, it thins the top layer of the skin,
allowing dead skin cells to more readily fall away so they are less likely to clog the pore in the first place.
It also works as a topical antibiotic (an antiseptic) to kill the P. acnes bacteria that naturally live in the
pore, but might be multiplying into dangerous quantities. Salicylic acid dissolves the debris and pus that might be
clogging the pore to get rid of acne such as blackheads and white heads. Finally, it constricts the opening of the
pore, making it less likely for dead skin cells and oils from the skin to enter the pore.
Salicylic acid is available in over-the-counter, non-prescription strengths in a variety of mediums. Many face
lotions, spot treatment gels, facial masks, body soaps, and face washes contain salicylic acid because it is great
as a preventative measure, too. Side effects from using it to get rid of acne include mild skin irritation, but can
cause more significant reactions in individuals who are allergic to the compound.