Does Salicylic Acid Kill Bacteria like Benzoyl Peroxide or not?

Updated on 30 Oct 2009,
Published on 30 Oct 2009

Salicylic acid is one of the most commonly used acids for the treatment of acne. Benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid are among the others that are commonly used for the treatment of acne. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxyl acid and is effective for mild acne treatment. It acts as a great cleansing agent that helps in removing dead skin cells and preparing the skin for other acne treatments. Salicylic acid is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It can be potentially damaging to skin in high concentrations, but is helpful in low concentrations. As a beta-hydroxyl acid with mild exfoliating properties, salicylic acid increases cell-turnover on the skin, and helps unclog pores.

Unlike the over-the-counter ingredient benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid penetrates into pores and exfoliate the walls of the pores to eliminate the clogging residue that causes acne. For this reason, it is particularly effective against comedonal acne, or blackheads. The main difference between Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid is that benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria on the skin's surface, whereas salicylic acid removes the clogging residue. Benzoyl peroxide can be used in conjunction with salicylic acid for a comprehensive over-the-counter acne regimen.  Salicylic acid products must be used continuously to prevent acne on acne-prone skin. Use the lowest possible concentration to avoid irritation.

This ingredient works on acne by actually helping to get rid of the dead skin cells that are on the skin. When the dead skin cells are not shed, they can often fall into the pores or build up on the skin. If the dead cells get into the pores and mix with sebum and bacteria, this can cause acne breakouts to occur. Of course, not only does the salicylic acid help to get rid of the dead skin cells, but it can also help to break down whiteheads and blackheads as well. Salicylic acid also helps the top layer of skin to peel off as well, which helps get rid of acne. While salicylic acid does many things, one thing it cannot do is kill the bacteria on your skin and in the pores.

Suggested Reading:
benefits of salicylic acid
is benzoyl peroxide good to treat acne
best makeup for acne prone skin

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