Believe me when I say that I know what it's like to be wading through breakout city on the regular—it's not exactly a fun time. I'm sure my acne-prone folks can relate, especially now that we're moving into the winter months when skin can become even more sensitive and dry. That's when you know it's time to stock up on your skin-saving allies. According to derms, there's one particular skincare ingredient that will really keep the blemishes at bay. Yep, surprise, it's salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a powerful BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that's by no means a new acne-fighting ingredient, but it does tend to get overlooked when we cultivate a routine for the winter. Some may argue that it's too drying for this time of year, but I'm here to tell you it can be incorporated in a way that will really enhance your overall glow.
Board-certified dermatologist Marisha Garshick is here to back me up on this. "Incorporating a salicylic acid serum can be a very effective option for someone with acne-prone skin. It helps to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells, but it is also oil-soluble and able to penetrate the pores to reduce excess oil and unclog them. It also works well to improve the overall appearance of blackheads and whiteheads," she says. Mixed with the right hydrating ingredients, this BHA can pack a punch but still leave your skin feeling extra nourished. Garshick has a few recommendations for you, plus I threw in a few of our other favorites. For the absolute best salicylic acid serums, keep scrolling below.
1. Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
"This splurge-worthy serum incorporates salicylic acid to help with oil and breakouts as well as dioic acid, glycolic acid, LHA and citric acid. They all work together to help exfoliate and improve overall skin tone and texture."
3. Beautycounter Countercontrol All Over Acne Treatment
The Inkey List's exfoliating serum unclogs and refines pores using a blend of zinc and salicylic acid. For less dryness (that can sometimes come with acne-fighting ingredients) the formula also contains hyaluronic acid.
5. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum
When you have acne-prone skin, you often have a waxy layer of sheen that just sits on top of your face, no? This serum can help with that. In addition to salicylic acid, it has Farnesol and Agarikon Mushroom Extract to help dissolve excess oil while firming the skin.
Yes, a serum that can fight both acne and fine lines does exist. Behold Clinique's correcting serum. It's gentle and hydrating with ingredients like whey protein, but still features a healthy dose of salicylic acid to help fight breakouts.