Also called beta hydroxy acid (BHA), this multifunctional ingredient addresses many of the systemic causes of acne. Salicylic acid’s primary benefit is as an exfoliant helping to shed the unhealthy build-up of dead skin due to sun damage, aging, and the abnormal build-up of oil and dead surface cells for those with acne, congested pores, and oily skin. Salicylic acid helps skin exfoliate in a natural, gentle manner similar to how skin was able to exfoliate when we were younger.
In addition to these benefits, salicylic acid also has soothing properties to calm aggravated skin, can help minimize the appearance of an uneven skin tone, and has hydrating abilities that can result in smoother skin.
References for this information:
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, August 2015, pages 455-461
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135-142
Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170-176
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, April 2007, pages 651-663
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2000, pages 21-52
Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305-308.