Salicylic acid will dry the spot and it will appear less noticeable. It works by penetrating the skin and attacking the ‘glue’ holding the skin cells together, exfoliating and cleaning out the pores, penetrating deep into the pores rather than just exfoliating the outer surface of the skin. It can also help reduce sebum secretion. It is a beta hydroxy acid, also known as a ‘BHA’ which is is a naturally occurring acid and is most commonly used for acne. It works mainly as a chemical exfoliant and is oil-soluble. It one of, perhaps even the best, product you can use to treat spots.
So here are the products I’ve been using…
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
I took this little bottle with me to work when the breakouts first started to make an appearance and with a clean finger I massaged a tiny little bit of the product to the area every now and then through the day and I really feel like it made a difference. I don’t tend to get a lot of spots – just a few hormonal breakouts that tend to linger longer than I want them to and often start feeling a little painful, but after applying this I have felt like the spots haven’t come up nearly as badly as they normally would. They went down considerably by the end of the day and have turned more into a red mark than an active spot, when it would usually take a few days for that amount of progress to be made. As I use this as a spot treatment rather than applying it to my entire face (which you can do with this particular product), I barely even need a drop each time so I know this bottle will last a while and I haven’t experienced a huge amount of dryness or any peeling because I only use it on specific spots. It’s small enough to be travel friendly as well, although it is a glass bottle so be careful it doesn’t get smashed if you do take it travelling.
Murad Rapid Relief Spot Treatment
After using The Ordinary’s product for a little while, I decided to look for something that also contained other ingredients to help keep inflammation at bay. One that I have been trying out and really enjoying is the one from Murad, which promises to reduce inflammation in 4 hours and should be applied just as a spot treatment. Along with having the same percentage of Salicylic Acid as The Ordinary’s product, this one also has other good stuff to help reduce inflammation such as zinc which helps helps soothe and protect from irritation. Zinc also regulates the activity of the oil glands. This treatment also contains sulphur, which works to to eliminate the bacteria and dead skin cells combo that clogs up the pores, attacking the problem that causes acne at its root. It has a thicker gel consistency, creating a sort of ‘seal’ on the spot and has certainly helped to reduce inflammation and reduce redness, as well as shrinking down the spot quickly and effectively.
Both of these products contain the maximum amount of Salicylic Acid allowed over the counter, so make sure to not overuse the product as it might cause some irritation and dryness. If you have more sensitive skin, the Murad product might be better for you as it contains other soothing ingredients alongside the active BHA. Both of these products also contain witch hazel, which is a skin-healing astringent and also used to treat acne. I have been very pleased with the results and will keep using them, I only apply the spot treatment for a short time when the spot first appears so it doesn’t leave my skin dry or irritated, which is what could happen. When using products like this, try not to mix this with any Retinoids or AHA’s such as Glycolic acid, as it can cause irritation as it’ll cause more exfoliation than you really need. Both AHA’s and BHA’s increase skin sensitivity to the sun, so please make sure to use SPF to protect your skin afterwards and if you can, avoid the sun a little.
So if you have the occasional break-out and want to try and keep them under control when they act up, pick up some Salicylic Acid and give it a go. It’s doing wonders for me!