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I’m Breaking Out—Does My Skin Need Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide?

16 min read

So you are breaking out. Maybe you look within the mirror and also you see an eruption of offended, pink bumps. Or perhaps it is all clogged pores for you—whiteheads and blackheads span your pores and skin. Either means, you are left trying to find an answer.

All of that looking could have led you to 2 hero components of the acne-fighting world: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These components, whereas every efficient in their very own proper, are sometimes used interchangeably by people who find themselves trying to clear their complexions. That’s okay, although, is not it? They each struggle zits, they usually’re each efficient, so it does not matter which one you employ, proper? Wrong. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide aren’t the identical—not by an extended shot. Each one has its personal distinctive function, advantages, and downsides, and it’s essential to acknowledge the distinction between the 2. That’s what we’re right here for. Keep scrolling to be taught all concerning the distinction between salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Plus, discover ways to acknowledge which one your pores and skin wants.

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Let’s start by discussing salicylic acid, an ingredient that may be present in all the things from cleansers to masks, oils, moisturizers, and past. According to Corey L. Hartman, MD, FAAD, founding father of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that’s derived from willow bark. “Salicylic acid penetrates by means of the lipid layers between pores and skin cells and into pores to unclog them, dissolve pores and skin particles, cut back pores and skin irritation, and deal with papules and pustules of zits,” he explains. “It can also break the connections between skin cells to increase exfoliation and cell turnover.”

Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist and the founding father of Dr. Loretta skincare, says salicylic acid is the one beta hydroxy acid (others, like lactic and glycolic, are alpha hydroxy acids). “Of all of the hydroxy acids, salicylic is the most effective at penetrating deeply into pores, so it is very efficient at extruding particles and oily buildup each in pores and on the pores and skin floor,” she says.

What Is Benzoyl Peroxide?

“Benzoyl peroxide is a peroxide with antibacterial, irritant, keratolytic, anti-inflammatory, and comedolytic properties,” Hartman explains. “It is a mainstay of acne therapy and has been a part of dermatologic care for decades.”

It differs from salicylic acid in that it does not exfoliate the pores and skin. Instead, it offers highly effective antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. In reality, it instantly targets the micro organism that trigger zits to erupt within the first place. According to Ciraldo, benzoyl peroxide kills P. acnes, that are the micro organism which are liable for zits.

Which One Does My Skin Need?

You can inform which ingredient your pores and skin wants based mostly on the kind of breakout you are experiencing. Because salicylic acid is an exfoliating acid, and thus dissolves pore-clogging particles, Hartman says that “it works best on blackheads and whiteheads,” though “it is also ideal for aging skin, photodamaged skin, and uneven skin tones affected by hyperpigmentation.”

Benzoyl peroxide, based on Ciraldo, “works best on red, inflamed acne lesions since the inflamed acne lesions are the ones that have the P. acnes overgrowth.” This differs from whiteheads and blackheads, that are clogged pores with out a lot bacterial overgrowth.

To sum it up, if blackheads and whiteheads are the banes of your existence, attain for a product that accommodates salicylic acid, which can break up the pore-clogging particles and enhance cell turnover, revealing clearer, smoother pores and skin. If you are coping with offended, pink, and infected zits, attain for a product that accommodates benzoyl peroxide. It will kill acne-causing micro organism and reduce present irritation.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide aren’t with out drawbacks. Let’s speak salicylic acid first. “If the focus of salicylic acid is simply too excessive or the frequency of use too nice, it could turn out to be irritating and trigger extreme pores and skin dryness, significantly for these with inherently dry pores and skin,” Hartman explains. You can inform you’re overusing the ingredient should you expertise peeling, redness, irritation, or itching.

Benzoyl peroxide is much more drying than salicylic acid, so “it should be used with caution if at all by those with dry skin, eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis.” It may show irritating, which is why it is best to introduce it to your routine slowly. “Benzoyl peroxide has been shown to be irritating, especially for those with darker skin tones,” Hartman says. “It can also bleach clothing and should be applied with caution to avoid damaging textiles. Hands should be washed thoroughly after application on the skin.”

Neither ingredient must be overused on the danger for irritation and dryness. With that being mentioned, if used sparingly and with intention, each salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can show efficient for preventing zits.

Products Containing Salicylic Acid

Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser ($35)

“Our sulfate-free Dr. Loretta Micro Exfoliating Cleanser is great for acne,” Ciraldo says. “We formulate it with organic virgin coconut oil to hydrate skin and provide it with calming effects to counteract the acidity of the salicylic acid.”

SkinCeuticals LHA Gel Cleanser ($41)

“Skinceuticals LHA Cleanser accommodates salicylic acid amongst different poly hydroxy acids that decongest pores, deal with zits, and stop growing old in a gently lathering gel that leaves pores and skin clear but hydrated,” Hartman says.

Tata Harper Resurfacing AHA + BHA Serum ($88)

This is one other suggestion from Hartman, who says it is “a potent serum that contains both alpha and beta hydroxy acids in a natural vehicle with clean credentials to boot.” We like the truth that it accommodates vitamin C for antioxidant safety and brightening results.

Grown Alchemist Blemish Treatment Gel ($49)

Grown Alchemist’s Blemish Treatment Gel will cease breakouts of their tracks with out inflicting extra dryness or irritation. It’s all because of chamomile and arnica extract—each of which cut back irritation and calm and soothe the pores and skin.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Salicylic Acid Face Cleanser ($15)

Here it’s—considered one of our favourite drugstore manufacturers. This salicylic acid cleanser is a part of the model’s Effaclar line, which is formulated particularly for acne-prone pores and skin.

Versed Keep the Peace Acne-Calming Cream Cleanser ($17)

Versed’s Acne-Calming Cream Cleanser accommodates apple fruit extract for a slight exfoliation impact and blue tansy for pure antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

Zitsticka Goo Getter ($19)

Senior magnificence editor Erin Jahns swears by these hydrocolloid spot dots, which extract impurities whereas salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and niacinamide go to work to deal with the blemish.

Zo Skin Health Complexiion Renewal Pads ($51)

Jahns additionally swears by these remedy pads, which include glycolic acid together with salicylic acid for a one-two punch of exfoliation (that is to not point out the bodily exfoliation gained from the feel of the pads).

Products Containing Benzoyl Peroxide

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser ($12)

Beauty editor Courtney Higgs reaches for this benzoyl peroxide cleanser when she breaks out. “I don’t suffer from breakouts often, but here’s a cleanser I like to keep on hand for the rare occasion that I need more than a spot treatment,” she says. “I’m convinced this foaming cleanser could rinse away even the most stubborn oil from my skin. In fact, I sometimes use it when I’ve used heavy moisturizers a few nights in a row resulting in product buildup that my go-to mild cleansers can’t clear.”

Glossier Zit Stick ($14)

Higgs additionally loves this stylish spot remedy from Glossier. “It’s so effective at clearing one-off pimples and reducing swelling,” she says. “It has all three acne ingredients known to clear blemishes fast: benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and a less-irritating salicylic acid derivative.”

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment With Benzoyl Peroxide ($30)

We weren’t kidding once we mentioned La Roche-Posay is considered one of our favourite manufacturers. This spot remedy is not any exception. It accommodates 5.5% benzoyl peroxide to zap acne-causing micro organism quick.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Clearing Lotion ($52)

Along with 5% benzoyl peroxide, this Kate Somerville lotion accommodates argan, noticed palmetto, and sesame seed extracts to soak up extra oil, which implies it is an alternative choice for individuals who need to maintain shine at bay.

Obagi ClenziDerm M.D. Therapeutic Lotion ($84)

Sure, the worth tag is nothing to scoff at, however with 5% benzoyl peroxide, this moisturizer is bound to maintain blemishes at bay.

Paula’s Choice Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide ($18)

This face lotion accommodates 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to focus on acne-causing micro organism earlier than they’ll wreak havoc in your complexion. It additionally sets to a matte end, which implies your pores and skin will not look shiny post-application.

Next: I Spiked My Skincare Routine With This Random Ingredient, and My Acne Vanished

This article initially appeared on Who What Wear

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