Can People with Sensitive Skin Use Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is an excellent ingredient for treating whiteheads, blackheads, excess oil, and acne. It exfoliates the skin cells and reaches the benchmark by allowing a moisturizer to penetrate deep into the skin.

However, even with all these perks, it isn’t the ideal and safe-to-use ingredient for all skin types. According to Blair Murphy-Rose, a certified dermatologist, people with sensitive skin are most likely to experience some side effects after using salicylic acid. Some of them include but are not limited to, dryness, increased sun sensitivity, irritation, etc.

So, Should People with Sensitive Skin Stop Using Acids?

When people with sensitive skin use salicylic acid to treat breakouts, it dries out the skin. So, how do you expect your skin to respond to this dryness? It produces more oil, hence more breakouts!

Salicylic acid might look like a dream ingredient to remove the dead skin cells, make your skin look bright and tight, and increase cell turnover. However, with sensitive skin, it will only lead to devastating skin conditions. With that in mind, dermatologists recommend an acid-free skincare routine that won’t take a toll on your skin.

Acid-Free Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin

Acid-free Skincare Regimen

Many skincare products offer effective results for sensitive skin types. Here is a brief guide on how you should structure an acid-free skincare routine.

Non-irritating Cleanser 

A cleanser removes the dirt and pollutants from the skin surface and keeps them from clogging your pores. However, some cleaners are infused with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), which can surefire lead to serious skin concerns. Dermatologists suggest using a sulfate-free, gentle cleanser that won’t mess up your skin.

Physical Exfoliator

Quite understandable you’re avoiding acids now, but by no means should you give up on exfoliators altogether. Exfoliation is healthy for the skin, regardless of your skin type. For sensitive skin, dermatologists recommend using a non-irritating, gentle, physical exfoliator no more than twice a week.

Moisture-based Toner 

Toners featuring alcohol and witch hazel rip natural oils off your skin, leaving your skin excessively dry. However, more of an essence, a moisture-infused toner hydrates and soothes your skin. If your toner contains hyaluronic acid, it will lock the moisture in your skin.

Vitamin C

While you’re dropping acids from your skincare, you must replace it with a serum that helps with treating fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. The best serum for this purpose is vitamin C. It makes your skin radiant, plump, healthy-looking. However, a downside of using it is the increased sensitivity to the sun. So, make sure to incorporate a sunblock in your routine (if you’re not already using one).

Cell-repairing Products

Using ingredients that repair skin cells naturally can be beneficial for the skin. For example, DNA repair enzymes are derived from algae, planktons, etc., and can help repair and build skin cells. Another incredible ingredient for cell repair is EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor). It helps with treating sun-damaged cells.

Take very good care of your sensitive skin and avoid using salicylic acid for exfoliation as it can do more harm to your skin. Instead, use the other methods mentioned above to nourish your sensitive skin.

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