Salicylic Acid

How Does Salicylic Acid Fight Acne?

How Does Salicylic Acid Work?

Salicylic Acid powerfully penetrates into the pores of the skin to dissolve the debris of dead skin cells and sebum that clogs pores. That’s really what makes it a hero ingredient in over-the-counter blemish and acne fighting products. An added bonus is Salicylic Acid’s anti-inflammatory properties, just like its cousin Acetylsalicylic Acid –– better known as aspirin –– helps red inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster.

When it comes to over-the-counter solutions in the battle against breakouts, there are a few key players you should know about, and Salicylic Acid is at the top of that list.


There are two classes of skincare acids you’ve probably heard about: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). While both alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin, AHAs are water-soluble and BHAs are oil-soluble. They are both effective, but work a bit differently, depending on your acne needs.

Salicylic Acid is a BHA, and examples of AHAs include glycolic and lactic acids. AHAs work well on the skin's surface to loosen old, dead skin and reveal fresh newer skin, while BHAs like Salicylic Acid work deeper to penetrate into the pores to unclog them.

It’s possible to use too much Salicylic Acid, which can become a problem. The primary negative side effect of Salicylic Acid is its ability to irritate and dry skin in those that are very sensitive or those who overuse it.

Salicylic Acid in Yes To Products

While they are at least 95% natural ingredients in composition, many of our Yes To Tomato products contain an effective amount of Salicylic Acid. Dermatologist Dr. Christine Choi Kim recommends, “As long as you are not pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an allergy to salicylates, my first recommendation for blemish-prone skin is a cleanser that contains Salicylic Acid.”

Dr. Kim goes on to say that, “Among the sea of options out there, one standout is Yes To Tomatoes Charcoal Detoxifying Daily Cleanser. This cleanser has got it all: Charcoal to naturally detoxify impurities and deep clean your skin, Tomato Extract to deliver antioxidants, and of course Salicylic Acid to help clear up your whiteheads and blackheads. My favorite feature? It contains eco-friendly biodegradable Jojoba spheres for gentle exfoliation. That makes it safer for both your face and the environment!”

Another product Dr. Kim loves to recommend for stubborn pimples is the Yes To Tomatoes Zit Zapping Dots. “These handy (and fun!) micro-mask dots provide a concentrated formulation of Salicylic Acid, Charcoal, and Tomato Extract to fight blemishes with 96% natural ingredients,” she explains. “The occlusive nature of the dots helps to drive the ingredients more effectively into the skin. So while you’re sleeping, that pimple is getting zapped!”

And if you’re looking for acne-fighting power in addition to exfoliation, try our Glow-Boosting Exfoliating Acid Pads. For use once weekly, these double-sided quilted pads are formulated with Grapefruit and 15% fruit acids—including Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Gluconolactone and Salicylic Acid—to exfoliate and even out tone & texture, leaving skin glowing.

Ditch the zits for good and check out our full line of Yes To Tomatoes products for blemish-prone skin and start building your routine today.

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