Treating Skin with Salicylic Acid

We're all familiar with scrubs to remove dead skin cells. Exfoliating with (fruit) acids is less well known, even though this is in fact milder for your face than the scraping granules. One of the most used for this is Salicylic Acid. A unique substance, which does far more than the removal of dead skin cells. 

Salicylic Acid and aspirin

Salicylic Acid was, for a long time, obtained from the bark of the Willow, but nowadays is mostly produced synthetically. Other natural sources are almonds, nuts, mushrooms and tomatoes, and also fruits such as blueberries and kiwis. The substance supposedly fulfils an important defensive role in plants. The ‘power’ of Salicylic Acid in people has already been established for a couple of hundred years. Extracts from the willow bark was broadly used in the treatment of fever and flu, malaria and rheumatic pain. Later in the nineteenth century Salicylic Acid was further developed in laboratories into the chemical variant acetylSalicylic Acid, better known as aspirin.

For blackheads and other impurities

In the meantime Salicylic Acid also offers a broad range of services in the skin. The substance helps dead skin cells shed from the skin more easily by reducing the bond between the cells in the top skin layer. Because Salicylic Acid is fat soluble, and penetrates deep into the pores, it is also effective in reducing blackheads, enlarged pores and removing excess sebum. It is not so strange then that Salicylic Acid is one of the most used ingredients in treating acne.

Rosacea and pigmentation spots too

Salicylic Acid is also considered an effective ingredient for soothing rosacea. Salicylic Acid, in general, causes less irritation than other (fruit) Acids and is therefore very suitable for sensitive skin. For the face Salicylic Acid is effective in a concentration between 0.05% and 2%. Higher concentrations are used for warts, keratosis pilaris or psoriasis. And as well as this, Salicylic Acid has a proven effect on reducing pigmentation spots. Exfoliating can give almost every skin a super boost, and provide a fresh, smooth radiance.

What should you be aware of with an Exfoliant?

The pH level.
The effectiveness of an Exfoliant does not only depend on the concentration of acids used; the pH level (Acidity) is also important. This should be between 3 and 5. At a higher or lower Acidity there is a risk that the product will irritate the skin or that it is not sufficiently effective. The Exfoliant by Dr. Jetske Ultee fulfils this requirement.

Introduce gradually.
When you begin exfoliating it is important to let your skin adjust. Increase the use slowly. Start with two to three times a week. If you see that your skin goes red or starts to flake or peel, take it a step back. For a more detailed instruction for use you can find more on Dr. Jetske Ultee’s own blog.

Extra protection from the sun.
Salicylic Acid can cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun. So protect your skin properly with a sun cream. Alhough that is, in fact, always important, even if you don’t use an Exfoliant.

Which skin type.
Lastly, before use first have a good look at your skin type. A dry skin will benefit more from Glycolic Acid than Salicylic Acid. This water soluble Acid not only dissolves dead skin cells, but also improves the moisture balance. You can read more about the use of this Exfoliant in Dr. Jetske Ultee’s blog. And, by the way, did you know that Glycolic Acid is derived from honey and sugar cane? And that many (fruit) Acids are derived from natural products?

Do you have a question? You can speak to one of our skin experts via

Skin analysis Dr. Jetske Ultee