Salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid – what do these names even mean? This post will break down skincare language confusion, helping you identify these popular beauty ingredients and answer a frequently asked question: can you use salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid?
In the beauty world, there is a lot of jargon thrown around. In skincare, this is amplified ten-fold! Turn over the bottle on your favorite cleanser, and you’ll see a long list of ingredients, most of which you probably don’t recognize.
Not only are these mysterious names slightly confusing, but they’re also actually incredibly important to know when choosing your skincare routine.
For one thing, several active ingredients can harm your skin when applied together. Some adverse reactions include redness, burning, dry skin, and even chemical burns! On the other hand, combining other certain active ingredients can make your skincare more effective.
More than just a luxury, knowing which ingredients to use together is a necessary skill. So today, I’m breaking down two of the most popular skincare ingredients on the market – salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid.
I’ll share my favorite products containing salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid, provide tips for usage, and answer once and for all, “can you use salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid?”. Before we answer that, let’s take a look at what these words actually mean!
What is Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is a common active ingredient in many skin care products; it is a beta-hydroxy acid that helps to exfoliate skin and unclog your pores.
This acid is made naturally from willow bark and contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help with redness, uneven skin tone, dark spots, and swelling in the skin.
Salicylic acid is a skincare superhero, penetrating deep into your pores and dissolving dead skin cells. The removal of dead cells improves your skin texture through gentle, chemical exfoliation.
Many skincare enthusiasts use salicylic acid products as an alternative to physical exfoliants as they are harsh on sensitive skin and can lead to skin irritation.
Salicylic acid can be used on most skin types. It is especially beneficial for oily skin as it breaks down excess oil production that clogs pores and can lead to breakouts.
Learn more about salicylic acid, including my top cleanser picks: everything you need to know about salicylic acid and the best cleanser with salicylic acid.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular ingredients in skincare products for its ability to plump and moisturize the skin.
This acid is a glycosaminoglycan – or in simpler terms; it helps provide moisture to the body and maintain healthy tissues.
Hyaluronic acid is effective in improving the appearance of fine lines and dull skin. It also has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and protect the skin.
Applying hyaluronic acid forms a barrier on the surface of your skin. This barrier will help keep your skin plump and moisturized while simultaneously improving elasticity and promoting collagen production.
Can You Use Salicylic Acid With Hyaluronic Acid?
Good news – you can definitely include both salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid together in your skin care routine. These products work great together, complementing each other in many ways.
For best results, use salicylic acid products to gently exfoliate your skin and prevent clogged pores. Then, apply a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid on top to protect your skin’s moisture barrier and keep it soft and well-hydrated.
While you can use hyaluronic acid every day, salicylic acid is a harsher product, particularly on sensitive skin. I would suggest using it one to three days a week. I use salicylic acid once per week and it is enough for my skin.
Always use a test patch before using new skincare on your face.
How to use Salicylic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid
If you’re ready to combine salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid in your skincare regimen, I recommend you follow these tips:
- Begin with a low concentration of salicylic acid, waiting for your skin to adjust.
- Always moisturize after using salicylic acid to prevent drying; a hyaluronic acid moisturizer is a great choice!
- Prevent over-exfoliation by avoiding using AHAs and BHAs together with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA and penetrates the skin more than an AHA.
- Use hyaluronic acid on damp skin to help lock in moisture.
- You can use hyaluronic acid daily, morning and night.
- Use a salicylic acid serum or face mask 1-3 times a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is and if you have any pre-existing skin conditions. Start with once per week to begin with.
- Always patch-test your hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid before using them on your face.
- Remember to always wear sunscreen and avoid peak sun hours when wearing salicylic acid to prevent sun damage. Salicylic acid makes your skin more vulnerable to harmful UV rays.
Products to Avoid Mixing
While we’ve established that you can use salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid, some products definitely shouldn’t be mixed!
Here are some common ingredients to avoid mixing in your skincare routine:
- Benzoyl Peroxide – this ingredient can be drying and may irritate your skin. When used with salicylic acid, this could make your skin red, flaky, and dry.
- Retinoids – because both retinoic acid and salicylic acid can be drying, using them together is too strong for your skin. If you want to use both products, it’s a good idea to use them on alternate days.
- Vitamin C – another skin super-ingredient, Vitamin C is great for brightening and improving the look of your skin’s surface. Use Vitamin C in the morning and salicylic acid at night.
- AHA’s – alpha-hydroxy acids (including lactic acid, mandelic acid, and glycolic acid) are also chemical exfoliants. Using both ingredients can lead to over-exfoliation and irritate your skin.
- Oily serums – products with added oils create a barrier on the skin; this prevents hyaluronic acid from penetrating the skin barrier and giving you a plumping, moisturized effect. Use any oils after your hyaluronic acid application.
- Hyaluronic acid works well with most other products to really hydrate the skin after some harsher actives.
Best Products With Salicylic Acid
These are my personal favorite cleansers, including salicylic acid, along with fan favorite salicylic acid products.
1. Peace Out Cleansing Balm
Best for oily, combination, and normal skin, Peace Out Cleansing Balm gently exfoliates with salicylic acid.
It also includes vitamin B niacinamide to even your complexion and eight amino acid complexes and lactic acid to deeply hydrate your skin.
Learn how to cleanse your skin properly for the best use of these products: How To Use Cleanser For Your Face – Everything You Need To Know To Cleanse Your Face Properly
2. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel exfoliates and clears your pores using salicylic acid.
Best for oily, normal, and combination skin, this cleanser also contains Glycolic Acid which visibly minimizes signs of aging.
3. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Acne Cleanser
If you want a salicylic acid cleanser on a budget, Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Acne Cleanser is a great option. It removes makeup, unclogs pores, and thoroughly cleanses your skin.
4. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator
This exfoliant mentions it is gentle enough for daily use. Daily use of salicylic acid is unnecessary for the skin. I use it 1-2 times a week max and my skin is very clear. The salicylic acid gently exfoliates for a smooth, flawless complexion.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator works well on any oily, combination, or normal skin type.
5. Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
The Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash is a wonderful cleanser for acne-prone skin. It keeps skin looking bright while refining pores and improving uneven skin texture.
Curious about the pros and cons of different kinds of cleaners? Check out my post on What Are The Different Types Of Cleansers?
6. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
The Ordinary is well-known for its budget-friendly skincare. Their Salicylic Acid 2% Masque smooths the skin through gentle exfoliation and is perfect for blemish-prone skin types.
Use twice a week for a glowing complexion!
7. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is another cult-classic product with salicylic acid working to smooth your skin tone and refine your pores.
Best Products With Hyaluronic Acid
These hyaluronic acid holy grails are wonderful choices to add to your skincare fridge. Check out the hyaluronic acid products that everyone is talking about!
1. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This affordable serum contains four forms of hyaluronic acid plus vitamin B5 in one formula to best moisturize and plump your skin.
Try The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum for an effective, vegan, budget-friendly option.
2. Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
This Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is lightweight, non-greasy, and extremely effective in moisturizing your skin.
This formula contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to help skin texture and hydration.
3. The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum
Another budget-friendly option, The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, is great for normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types.
This hyaluronic acid serum deeply hydrates skin with a lightweight formula. It’s also great for dark undereye circles!
4. Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating System
The good thing about Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum is that it thoroughly hydrates your skin for moisture and plumpness that you will notice – right away!
The plum scent is light and unobtrusive, offering a tiny bit of sweetness to your skincare routine.
Final Thoughts: Can You Use Salicylic Acid With Hyaluronic Acid?
That wraps up my post on “Can you use salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid?”. I hope you’ve found it useful in building your dream skincare routine with safe and effective products.
If you have any questions about salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, or any other skincare ingredients, please reach out via email or Instagram. I would love to help!
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