ACNE SHOWDOWN: SALICYLIC ACID VS BENZOYL PEROXIDE

March 17 2021

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two of the most well-known acne-fighting ingredients that help clear mild acne and prevent future breakouts. 


Both ingredients exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells, which can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts - but when it comes down to it, which one is ultimately better? We evaluate both ingredients side-by-side below! 


BENZOYL PEROXIDE


A harsh antibacterial agent that helps kill P acnes (aka propionibacterium acnes),  the bacteria that are known to play a role in the development of acne. It also helps prevent small pimples from showing up. 


FAST FACTS: 

  • It can cause dryness, peeling, and redness.
  • It can bleach fabric. (yikes!) 
  • In some cases, it can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 
  • Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria.
  • It prevents antibiotic resistance.
  • It can work quickly.

SALICYLIC ACID 


A beta hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells on the skin surface and in the pores, which become clogged with acne. (Remember, it’s the combination of increased oil, dead skin cell accumulation that clogs pores, and bacteria that contributes to acne!) It also removes surface oil and evens out skin texture.


FAST FACTS: 

  • Salicylic acid exfoliates skin and removes dead skin cells.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe skin and calm inflammation. 
  • Penetrates deeper into pores. 
  • Really great for helping blackheads and whiteheads. 
  • It’s recommended for sensitive skin. 
  • It can take a bit longer to see results. 
  • Bonus: It won’t bleach fabric!

OUR CONCLUSION

The biggest difference is that while each ingredient attacks a different acne-causing source - benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria while salicylic acid unclogs pores - salicylic acid is less irritating on skin and may not cause as much redness, dryness, or peeling as benzoyl peroxide can. 

Tags:  Acne Champs
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