Which Salicylic Acid Body Wash Actually Works Well?

(Last Updated On: July 1, 2019)

If you’re as ‘lucky’ as I am, you’re still fighting acne, even though your teenage years are way behind you. You probably already noticed that the beauty products that work for you contain salicylic acid.

It’s been known as one of the most important treatments for those with acne-prone oily skin.

But learning that you should look for it is not enough. There’s a small catch – some products that list it as an ingredient do not actually contain the right concentration, at the right pH.

Read on to learn more about salicylic acid body washes.

What Is It?

It is best known as the primary ingredient in aspirin. The name comes from Latin and it means willow trees, salix, since it was primarily made from complex carbohydrate that can be found in willow bark.

For some time, researchers even used to treat it as a vitamin that they would call vitamin S. When taken orally, It’s a really good pain reliever that improves circulation. On the other hand, when it’s applied externally, on the skin, it breaks down fatty compounds very effectively, like the oily sebum that skin produces, that clogs pores. It’s often used to treat acne, but at a higher percentage, it can be also used to dissolve warts.

What Salicylic Acid (SA) Does to Your Skin:

Salicylic acid body wash is oil soluble, so it can penetrate into the pores of the skin. But how exactly does it do that and what exactly does it do to your skin?

It attacks the ‘glue’ that holds your skin cells together

The acid part of the molecule, once applied to the skin, can dissolve some of the ‘glue’ that holds the skin cells together.

It is really good at exfoliating the skin

It’s considered as a keratolytic medication, that means that it is good at supreme exfoliation. Just like other keratolytic medications, It causes softening and sloughing of the toppest layer of the skin.

It also breaks apart the attachments between the cells of the outer layer of your skin. One of the reasons we get acne is because the skin cells don’t behave the way they normally should – they stick together and clog pores, which results in cysts and blackheads. It helps the skin behave normally by loosening the skin cells.

It deep-cleans your skin cells

Since it is lipophilic, it can penetrate oily skin and clogged pores, and give them a deep-cleanse. Additionally, it reduces the overall sebum secretion, which also helps in treating acne, plus the acid is anti-inflammatory, which calms inflamed acne.

Works best on blackheads and whiteheads

It helps best with acne that are produced as the result of an abnormal sloughing off of skin cells, since the way it works is by dissolving the type of the skin debris that clogs  pores. This means that the best type of acne to treat with it are blackheads and whiteheads, but it doesn’t really work as well when it comes to cystic acne.

Related: Try these Benzoyl peroxide body washes to help your skin

It can help reduce dandruff

Low concentrations of it are known to speed up the desquamation process, thus helping with conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.

Salicylic Acid Body Washes To Try

Home Health Psoriasis Medicated

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This  helps by reducing the itching, redness, irritation and scaling associated with psoriasis, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. In this product, SA is combined with a soothing, moisturizing base that includes Allantoin, Aloe Vera Gel, Carrot Oil, Echinacea Extract and Jojoba Oil.

Why It’s So Popular:
– Relieves itching, redness, irritation and scaling
– It’s gentle on the skin
– Effective for scalp and body
– No artificial preservatives or colors
– Paraben free
– Contains 2% SA

Keep In Mind:
– Not very soapy
– Not very effective with severe cases of eczema

Neutrogena Body Clear Pink Grapefruit


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This product smells amazing! Of course, it also works amazing. It’s a refreshing, clean-rinsing body wash that treats and helps prevent breakouts. The formula features SA boosted by oil dissolving Microclear technology. It’s developed to treat body breakouts such as those on your back, shoulders and chest without over-drying. The bubbly lathering formula contains naturally derived grapefruit extract, plus vitamin C.

Why It’s So Popular:
– Treats body breakouts
– SA boosted by oil dissolving Microclear technology
– Contains naturally derived grapefruit extract, plus vitamin C
– Smells amazing
– Great for very oily skin
– No sticky feeling residue
– Works quickly

Keep In Mind:
– Not suitable for dry sensitive skin
– Could use a pump nozzle
– The little beads are too few to do any proper exfoliation

Kojic Super Hydration

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This is fortified with kojic acid and has a cinnamon essential oil fragrance, since cinnamon has been known to potentiate the effect of other ingredients and speed up the skin clarity process. Aside from cinnamon, it also includes SA, Licorice Root Extract, Aspen Bark Extract, Tea tree oil, Shea Butter and Coco-betaine.

Why It’s So Popular:
– Fortified with kojic acid and other skin clarifying ingredient
– Good as a clarifying product
– Hydrates the skin
– Contains kojic acid and arbutin for maximum concentration of melanin inhibitors.
– Good for those struggling with hyper pigmentation
– Results within 2 weeks
– Clears off spots effectively

Keep In Mind:
– Doesn’t smell nice

Asepxia Exfoliating Shower Gel

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The Asepxia Shower Gel penetrates pores effectively and eliminates both pimples and blackheads. It comes with 2% Salicylic acid in a glycerin, water base. It’s lightly scented with gentle cleansers to remove dirt, oil and grease.

Why It’s So Popular:
– Fast acting
– Helps keep pores unblocked
– Use daily on skin with acne
– 2% Salicylic acid
– Exfoliates nicely
– Great for very oily skin

Keep In Mind:
– Bothersome dryness or peeling can occur
– Not good for highly sensitive skin

Murad Acne

Check price and more details here

This is a triple-action anti-acne body cleanser that treats and prevents breakouts. It deep cleans in order to eliminate breakouts all over the body. It contains both glycolic and SA to penetrate deep into the skin in order to prevent breakouts, while the date seed powder exfoliates the skin. Green tea and licorice root extracts protect and help soothe inflamed skin.

Why It’s So Popular:
– Great smell
– Highly effective for adult acne
– Glycolic and SA
– A little goes a long way
– Exfoliates the skin
– Effectively eliminates body acne
– Not drying on the skin

Keep In Mind:
– A bit pricey
– The shape of the bottle is bad and makes it really easy to use too much

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