The best salicylic acid facial cleansers, according to dermatologists
A good facial cleanser removes oil and dirt from the skin, but a truly effective cleanser removes dead skin cells and also cleans clogged pores. And one of the best ingredients for it? Salicylic acid, which dissolves the layer of dead cells that lies on the skin, called the stratum corneum.
It may sound intense, but salicylic acid is actually a natural ingredient commonly found in willow bark, berries, and vegetables. This is called a beta-hydroxy acid or a BHA. Similar to alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs, like glycolic and lactic acids) although much milder, BHAs work to exfoliate the skin without any friction.
“It eliminates what looks nasty, then peels and flakes,” says certified dermatologist Dr. Paul Dean, of La Mesa, Calif. He is the founder of SkinResource.MD, a skincare line that also makes one of the best salicylic acid facial cleansers. This peeling and peeling is generally soft, especially when administered with daily cleansers. According to Dean, the ingredient is ideal for people prone to acne.
“They usually have an abundance of dead skin, especially around the hair follicles, which prevents the hair follicles from draining,” says Dean. “Once you dissolve the top layer of dead skin cells, your skin can then absorb whatever you apply therapeutically.”
Dean notes that salicylic acid will also help remove fine lines and wrinkles. Overall, it leaves the skin smoother, brighter, and clearer. Below, check out Dean’s advice on some of the best salicylic acid facial cleansers, as well as advice from Dr. Milton R. Moore, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in adult and pediatric dermatology.
Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash
SkinCeuticals LHA cleansing gel
The two dermatologists recommended this product above all. LHA, or lipo-hydroxy acid, is a type of salicylic acid. “Glycolic acid, in combination with the other acids, gently exfoliates for a nice glow,” says Moore. “And sorbitol is an effective humectant that extracts moisture from the air to hydrate the skin. It is ideal for removing excess sebum, decongesting pores and minimizing their appearance. “
Best salicylic acid face wash for sensitive skin
Epionce purifying cleanser
“Epionce’s facial cleanser is effective for sensitive skin and includes botanical ingredients such as willow bark extract, menthol, and spearmint oil,” says Moore. “The antioxidant properties of spearmint oil help prevent dry skin while menthol provides a cooling and calming effect while reducing irritation.”
Best Salicylic Acid Facial Cleansing Wipes
Obagi Acne Cleansing Wipes
“These wipes are a great addition to any cleansing regimen, from teens with acne to those who have an active lifestyle or have oily skin all day long,” says Moore. “They cleanse the skin of debris and dead keratin and can also be used as a makeup remover when you don’t have the time or place to wash yourself.”
Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Athletes
Brickell Anti-Acne Facial Cleanser
While it’s good to have wipes on the go for your active lifestyle, you still need a reliable bathroom cleanser (for twice-daily use at a minimum). Brickell’s pore cleansing formula is an enemy of acne, sweat, oil and grime. It also neutralizes bacteria with tea tree oil and leaves the skin feeling refreshed and tingled.
Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash for Dry Skin
Dr. Barbara Sturm Cleanser
A gentle foaming cleanser with soothing aloe vera and careful curation of exfoliating acids, this makes a great daily option for people with dry skin sensitive to other formulas. Critics are thrilled with the results, as well as that a little is enough.
The best salicylic acid facial cleanser
SkinResource.MD Tea Tree Deep Facial Cleanser
“It contains a natural salicylic acid from willow bark, as well as foaming yucca saponins, ”Dean says of his brand’s salicylic acid cleanser. “Mild cleansers of natural origin dissolve surface oils and other debris on contact.” While most of the reviews are positive, some reviewers note that they have encountered a reaction to the product, so it may not be the best choice for sensitive skin.
Best salicylic acid tampons
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx Acne Eliminating Pads
While not quite a facial cleanser, Dr. Dennis Gross Acne Removal Pads are a great add-on to any facial cleanser if you have acne prone skin. Resurfacing pads work like facial wipes to dissolve dead skin, unclog pores and promote clear skin. They also help rid the skin of dark spots and large pores, and can give drastic results within two weeks.
Best Soothing Salicylic Acid Face Wash
Holly Hall Supply Co.
Gentle enough for everyday use, Moore’s Salicyclic Acid Facial Cleanser formula contains natural ingredients like chamomile (a powerful anti-inflammatory agent) and peppermint (which provides a light, refreshing tingle). “This cleanser is ideal for deep cleansing the pores and easily removing makeup without leaving a residue,” says Moore. “It works effectively for acne-prone oily skin and dry skin.”