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Everything You Need to Know About Salicylic Acid.

Everything You Need to Know About Salicylic Acid.

Renowned since ancient times for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, salicylic acid is now used in the composition of many cosmetic products because of its various benefits for the skin. Particularly recommended for its global anti-imperfection action, it is suitable for all skin types. Let's focus on this active ingredient with a remarkable efficiency.

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), known for its keratolytic properties that promote desquamation (the removal of dead skin). A molecule from the plant world, it was first extracted from willow bark in 1829 by a French pharmacist named Pierre-Joseph LEROUX. It is naturally present in several plants, particularly the meadowsweet and the willow from which it takes its name. It is also found in many fruits and vegetables, including almonds, tomatoes, melons, raspberries, cherries, grapes, apricots, cucumbers, spinach, etc. The famous aspirin is a synthetic derivative of salicylic acid: it is acetylsalicylic acid. It was first manufactured in 1853 by the chemist C.F. GERHARDT. In skin care products, this active ingredient can be of synthetic or natural origin.

The Benefits of Salicylic Acid for the Skin.

Several in vitro studies have demonstrated the interesting properties of salicylic acid for the care of oily skin prone to imperfections of all kinds.

  • Thanks to its antiseptic properties, it prevents the growth and proliferation of fungi, viruses and bacteria, such as Cutibacterium acnes, the micro-organism that causes inflammatory reactions in acne.

  • It also has a keratolytic and purifying properties. It promotes the elimination of dead cells on the surface of the epidermis and stimulates cell renewal. Thus, it is particularly effective to illuminate the dull complexions and to give again glare to the tired skins.

  • Its soothing properties help to reduce symptoms related to inflammation. Salicylic acid is involved in the arachidonic acid sequence and inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins E2, molecules that cause inflammatory and painful effects. In the treatment of acne, it soothes painful pimples and visibly reduces redness.

  • It boosts collagen synthesis and stimulates circulation, making it an excellent active ingredient for reducing the signs of aging. It helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

  • Its sebum-regulating properties target the formation of blackheads and prevent the clogging of pores that cause blackheads.

Is Salicylic Acid Photo-Sensitizing?

No, salicylic acid does not increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. It can be applied in the morning, even if you plan to go out during the day. Just be sure to use a sunscreen every day that matches your skin tone.

Interestingly, salicylic acid may have a photo-protective effect on the skin! Two clinical studies have shown that salicylic acid, when applied a few minutes before UV exposure, reduces sunburn. However, it is important to note that in these experiments, a relatively high concentration of salicylic acid was applied in large quantities shortly before UV exposure. It is absolutely not recommended to use salicylic acid as a sunscreen because to achieve effective sun protection, you would have to use a much higher concentration than the 2% commonly used in cosmetics. This concentration would cause too much exfoliation and irritation for frequent use.

The Benefits of Salicylic Acid for Hair.

Salicylic acid is also present in many hair care products. It cleanses the scalp and helps eliminate any flakes and dandruff that may be present. It is also used in the treatment of dull and broken hair. It nourishes and protects the hair fiber. It brings shine and volume to the hair, making it silkier and easier to style. This active ingredient is also found in hair care products for oily hair, because of its action on sebaceous secretions.

Our Care Products With Salicylic Acid.

Typology offers you two treatments concentrated in salicylic acid to take care of your skin and fight effectively against imperfections:

Concentrated at 2% in salicylic acid, this serum targets the imperfections effectively. It is also enriched with zinc (1%), a seboregulating and antimicrobial trace element. It is applied locally, in small quantities. Generally, one drop is sufficient for an isolated pimple. The first results should be seen after three days.

Less concentrated in salicylic acid than the serum, this toner is applied more to the entire face. As a daily routine, every evening, apply this tonic before night cream or botanical oil. Enriched with purifying and anti-bacterial active ingredients, it brightens the complexion, tightens the pores and refines the skin texture.


  • GARAVITO R.M & al. The structural basis of aspirin activity inferred from the crystal structure of inactivated prostaglandin H2 synthase.Nature structural biology (1995).

  • IL-HWAN KIM & al. Salicylic acid peels for the treatment of acne vulgaris in asian patients. Dermatologic Surgery (2003).

  • ARIF T. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (2015).

  • Kornhauser, A. et al. The effects of topically applied glycolic acid and salicylic acid on ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema, DNA damage and sunburn cell formation in human skin. J Dermatol Sci, (2009)

  • Thomas Mammone & al., Salicylic acid protects the skin from UV damage, Journal of Cosmetic Science, (2006).

  • Bubna, A. K. Aspirin in dermatology: Revisited. Indian Dermatol Online J. (2015)


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