Salicylic Acid vs. Benzoyl Peroxide: Which is Right for Your Skin?

Salicylic Acid vs Benzoyl Peroxide: Which is Right for Your Skin and Health?

Taking care of your skin and being aware of any skin conditions is important for your health. With so many skincare options available on the market, it can be difficult to decide which option is right for you. Two popular ingredients for tackling problematic skin, such as acne, are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Here, we take a look at the similarities and differences between the two, so you can make an informed decision about your skin care treatment.

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Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a type of BHA (beta hydroxy acid). It is a plant-derived compound with naturally based origins. As such, it is usually well tolerated by most skin types. Salicylic acid works by helping to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and to unclog blocked pores. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce the size of large, red, spots. In addition, salicylic acid has the ability to penetrate deeper into the sebum (oil) filled pores. As such, it is particularly effective for securing skin prone to breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads. For this reason, it is also a popular ingredient for skin care products aimed at teens.

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Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a type of PHA (poly hydroxy acid). It is a synthetic ingredient, available in different strengths and formulas to suit different skin types and needs. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing of the bacteria which cause acne on the skin. It is commonly used for moderate to severe cases of acne, or in combination with salicylic acid or other products. It can also help to reduce post-inflammatory pigmentation (dark spots) however, as it is a strong chemical, it can also be drying on the skin. It can also cause irritation, so it is important to use gentle cleansers with this ingredient and to patch test before use.

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Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two popular solution for treating problematic skin. Salicylic acid is a mild solution and works by exfoliating and penetrating the pore to remove impurities and reduce inflammation, making it an ideal choice for mild to moderate breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide is a stronger chemical, working by killing acne causing bacteria and for severe acne outbreaks. Each has its own pros and cons and, as such, it is important to speak to a dermatologist or skin specialist before making a decision about which is best for your skin and health.