Salicylic Acid 🌱

Salicylic acid is part of the BHA family. BHA stands for Beta-Hydroxy Acid. BHAs are oil-soluble and can penetrate our pores alongside working on the surface of the skin 👩🏻‍🚒. Going deeper into our pores, makes them more effective than scrubbing the skin with physical exfoliants 🏖! ⠀

The popular BHA, Salicylic Acid 🌱 , has anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and depending on the formulation/percentage a BHA can be used by even the most sensitive skin to help reduce redness and calm the skin ✨. ⠀

We believe that Salicylic Acid has become popular through products like the Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Liquid Exfoliant that has amazing reviews from people dealing with oily and acne-prone skin 💁🏼‍♀️! Again, this ingredient can be used in different concentrations and forms making it confusing👩🏻‍💻.

BHAs : Salicylic Acid (origin : Willow Bark)  is technically the only BHA present in the market. Therefore, if you see a product containing either BHA, salicylic acid, or willow bark extract they all fall under this category.


  • Dissolves dead skin cells on the surface of the skin

  • Gets down into the pore and dissolves the oil and break apart the debris inside that commonly lead to acne

  • Corrects dark spots without irritating your skin

  • Prevents new acne and blackheads from forming

  • Doesn’t trigger post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, which is a risk with AHAs and darker skin types

BHA for your Skin Mood

Blemish Prone, Oily, Congested Skin : You already understood from the benefits we described that BHAs are highly recommended for these skin moods. BHAs go deeper into our pores, which makes them more effective that scrubbing the skin with physical exfoliant and ideal for oil-prone skin to control oil flow. 

Sensitive/Rosacea Prone Skin: According to Paula’s Choice, BHAs can benefit any skin type despite them being best known for helping oily and acne prone skin.  In fact, this ingredient has anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties and depending on the formulation and percentage of the BHA ingredient can be used by even the most sensitive skin to help reduce redness and calm the skin. 

However, there is a strong difference between having a sensitive skin and a compromised barrier function. Before using any type of acids or enzymes it is essential to make sure that the skin’s defence system is well in place. Don’t forget that this ingredient “exfoliates” the skin meaning that for those with a compromised barrier it will have more of a destructive effect and can cause irritation!


  • These can be mildly drying, so it is important to moisturise

  • BHAs should be avoided during pregnancy!

  • You must be aware of the formulation you are using and what other ingredients the BHA is paired with.  Products targeting acne, will often tend to be paired with alcohol, which for sensitive skin will be too aggressive and drying. 

  • Always introduce slowly to the skin and then build up!

Shop your Skin Mood