Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne
If you were to just google “treatment for acne”, you will be served a pool of extremely varying results. This is because the skin care industry is inundated with products, all with one single claim – cure acne. The efficacy of these products is rather unknown.
That said, two ingredients tend to stand out above the rest: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. I call them both super ingredients that fight a different acne-causing source. Salicylic acid clears pores by removing dead cells off our skin. And benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria.
Salicylic Acid in Acne Treatment
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) derived from willow bark, wintergreen leaves, and sweet birch. It works as a keratolytic agent, i.e., it promotes skin shedding by reducing adhesion between skin cells. Simply put, it reduces the size of the pimple. It does not prevent acne, it treats them.
If you use salicylic acid regularly, you may notice your skin starting to dry. Don’t fret. Top it up with a layer of a good pH balanced moisturizer. In the day time, consider using sunscreen as well.
We, dermatologists, use salicylic acid in chemical peels to treat acne. Besides acne, we use it to treat skin conditions like corn, warts, and calluses.
Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne
Benzoyl peroxide, on the other hand, is an excellent anti-acne medicine used mainly for grade 1 and grade 2 acne vulgaris. Its bacteriostatic action helps reduce the count of the bacteria found in pimples (P.acnes). Additionally, it also has comedolytic properties. Comedolytic comes from the two words comedo meaning pore blockage and lytic meaning termination.
And isn’t that what we want to achieve, anyway??
We can combine benzoyl peroxide with other antimicrobial agents such as erythromycin, clindamycin to prevent resistance. Very few cases report of irritation after applying benzoyl peroxide get. Such cases, however, are few and rare.