Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid and the best cleanser with salicylic acid

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In this blog post, I am going to tell you about the best cleanser with Salicylic Acid. I am going to tell you about 7 cleansers with salicylic acid as there are different types of cleansers so want to make sure I tell you about a cleanser type with salicylic acid that you would like to use.

I have included a cleansing balm with salicylic acid along with gel cleansers with salicylic acid. Skin care can be really expensive so I have also included 2 budget cleansers with salicylic acid.

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a really amazing skin care ingredient for oily and acne prone skin

Salicylic acid is effective, yet gentle enough for everyday use. Before I get into the best cleansers with salicylic acid, I am going to answer a few popular questions and provide some information on salicylic acid skin care and salicylic acid benefits.

What is salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid, also known as a BHA. It’s known as a hero skin care ingredient for those prone to acne. Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and also really clears out pores.

Salicylic Acid benefits

There are lots of benefits to using salicylic acid in your skin care routine. As I mentioned above, salicylic acid is very good for oily and acne prone skin. Salicylic acid is really great for helping out with mild acne (blackheads and white heads). Salicylic acid can also prevent future break outs by cleaning out your pores. There are lots of salicylic acid benefits.

How does salicylic acid work?

When your pores get clogged with oil, dirt or any dead skin cells, you get black heads or white heads. Blackheads are when the clogged pores are open and white heads are when the clogged pores are closed. Salicylic acid works to really get into your pores and dissolve the dead skin cells which can cause these clogged pores.

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid
Image via Sephora.com

How quickly does salicylic acid work?

Salicylic acid can take a few weeks to see full results so don’t expect overnight miracles. Salicylic acid is one of the best remedies for mild acne so be patient.

Salicylic acid skin care

Salicylic acid can be found in many skin care products. I recommend using it in your cleanser as the cleanser will work as a cleanser and exfoliator. If you are using salicylic acid in your cleanser, that is enough. You do not need to have salicylic acid in your moisturizer or any other products too. Too much salicylic acid will dry out your skin and more is not more in the case of salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid – how to use

In each of the cleansers with salicylic acid reviews below, I will give you recommended guidance on how to use the salicylic acid cleanser. With salicylic acid, it is best to start off small and work your way up to make sure that your skin is accepting it well.

Salicylic acid morning or night

You can use salicylic acid in the morning and at night. If you have oily or acne prone skin, you may need to cleanse with a salicylic acid cleanser in the morning and at night. I only cleanse once at night and that is enough for me. All of our skin is different so try using a salicylic acid cleanser in the night first and see if you need it in the morning too.

You can read my full blog post on cleanser and how to use cleanser here.

Salicylic acid and pregnancy and Salicylic acid while breast feeding

If you are wondering about salicylic acid and pregnancy, people can safely apply products containing salicylic acid once or twice a day during pregnancy.

Cleansers and toners commonly include salicylic acid. Doctors recommended using products containing salicylic acid no stronger than 2 percent. If you are wondering if you can use salicylic acid while breast feeding, then the same applies.

You can use salicylic acid while breast feeding using over the counter salicylic acid. All of the below cleansers with salicylic acid have less than 2% salicylic acid as they are over the counter salicylic acid. Check in with your medical provider to get a professional opinion.

Are there negative effects of salicylic acid

Yes, if you over use salicylic acid, there can be negative effects. Overusing salicylic acid can make your skin dry and red. Start using salicylic acid every couple of nights and build up to make sure that your skin is reacting well to it.

There are lots of different types of cleansers depending on your skin type. You can read all about the different types of cleansers HERE.

Is salicylic acid bad for your skin?

No salicylic acid is not bad for your skin once used in moderation. It can really help with removing dead skin cells from blocked pores which in turn targets acne and oily skin. Always use salicylic acid in moderation and slowly introduce it to your skin care routine.

Is salicylic acid good for acne?

Yes, salicylic acid is good for acne. As I mentioned above, salicylic acid is one of the skin care ingredients recommended for acne prone skin. Salicylic acid is gentle in smaller doses and can dissolve the dead skin cells that will cause breakouts.

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid
Image via Sephora.com

Salicylic acid & rosacea

Dermatologists note that salicylic acid is not suitable for those with rosacea as it can trigger flare ups. Avoid using salicylic acid if you have rosacea.

How much salicylic acid to use?

As I mentioned above, the max over the counter salicylic acid you can get is 2%. A lot of the salicylic acid products that I use have 0.5% which is enough for me. Start of using 0.5% salicylic acid and work your way up. That way you will reduce the risk of having a reaction.

Salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid

If you are wondering if you have to use salicylic acid or hyaluronic acid, then the great news is that you can use both salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid. Salicylic acid is great at breaking down excess oil and really working to dissolve those dead skin cells that are clogging up your pores. Hyaluronic acid works to hydrate the skin. It is good to use salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid together.

Now that you have lots of information on salicylic acid, I am going to show you the best cleansers with salicylic acid.

I have included a budget cleanser with salicylic acid, cleansing balm with salicylic acid, gentle salicylic acid cleansers and more! I have also included reasons why you may like one cleanser with salicylic acid over another.

Best Cleansers With Salicylic Acid

These are my personal favorite cleansers, including salicylic acid, along with fan favorite salicylic acid products. 

1. Peace Out Cleansing Balm

This cleanser is suitable for oily, combination, and normal skin, Peace Out Cleansing Balm gently exfoliates with salicylic acid. 

This salicylic acid cleanser has 3 key ingredients. Salicylic Acid works to gently exfoliate skin and it also refines the look of pores and texture. Niacinamide, another hero ingredient, acts as a form of vitamin B that helps the appearance of a more even complexion. Finally, Eight Amino Acid Complex and Lactic Acid works to hydrate skin with a moisturizing barrier.

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. 

This cleanser with salicylic acid is suitable for oily, normal, and combination skin.

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid
Image via Sephora.com

This cleanser contains Willow Bark Extract which contains salicylic acid. This gently exfoliates and clears pores. Farnesol is a powerful ingredient that helps prevent breakouts by preventing the growth of bacteria on the skin. Barosma Betulina Leaf Extract works to reduce and refine pores by balancing oil production. It 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. 

This cleanser with salicylic acid is suitable for oily, combination, and normal skin.

This is a great budget cleanser with salicylic acid. It is a new brand at Sephora and has been an industry favorite for some time due to the great ingredients and price point. It’s a gentle, acne-fighting face wash that thoroughly removes excess oil, pore-clogging debris, and makeup without drying skin or causing redness.

4. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator works well on any oily, combination, or normal skin type. 

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid
Image via Sephora.com

I love this Dermalogica exfoliator. While this is technically an exfoliator, it has salicylic acid and can be used daily to serve the same purpose as a cleanser with salicylic acid. You can use a cleanser without salicylic acid and then use this after to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. I use it 1-2 times a week and that is enough for me.

The salicylic acid gently exfoliates for a smooth, flawless complexion. 

5. Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

I am a huge fan of Dermalogica products and have been using them for years. This Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash is a gentle cleanser that is good for breakout- and acne-prone skin. This cleanser with salicylic acid keeps skin looking clear and bright while also working to target pores, oiliness, and uneven texture.

This cleanser with salicylic acid is suitable for oily, combination and normal skin.

Curious about the pros and cons of different kinds of cleaners? Check out my post on What Are The Different Types Of Cleansers?

More top tips to keep your skin glowing

I love using Cozy Earth’s plush wash cloths to take off my makeup each night. Use your favorite cleanser and remove with a warm, plush, hotel-like wash cloth. My Cozy Earth coupon code CE-LORNARYAN gets you 40% off everything on Cozy Earth including these facial towels.

I also LOVE their new silk pillowcase. It is so soft and gentle on your skin and hair. Silk pillowcases have so many benefits which you can read about here.

One benefit about silk pillowcases is that they absorb less hair oil, skincare, and hair products than a traditional cotton pillowcase. This reduces breakouts as you are not continually exposing your skin to product and oil build ups on your pillowcase each night. Silk pillowcases also help reduce frizz (bonus!)

You can get this one at 40% off using my Cozy Earth discount code CE-LORNARYAN for a limited time.

Other Cleanser blog posts

Types of Cleansers

5 best cleansing balms

Top tips for using cleanser

Everything you need to know about Salicylic acid

Hope you enjoyed reading all about cleansers with salicylic acid. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram.

Always check in with a dermatologist for any specific skin care concerns and always patch test products before trying out.

About Lorna Ryan

Lorna's fashion & beauty journey began on runways, including NYFW, which sparked her love for all things chic. Lorna spent two years as a SephoraSquad ambassador, sharing hero beauty products. Lorna unveils coveted beauty gems, the latest fashion trends, and best-kept jetsetter escapes.