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.

Tomatoes in Skincare

A 2011 study found that the combination of tomato paste and olive oil protected against sun damage, and boosted the production of pro-collagen, a molecule that gives the skin its structure and keeps it firm and youthful. It’s believed that the Lycopene in tomatoes is the key to its skin care magic. Tomatoes are also amazing acne fighters. It’s true!

Yes To Tomatoes Blemish-Fighting Products

Each of our skin care lines harness the power of fruits and vegetables, and Our Yes To Tomatoes products are specifically formulated for oily/combination and breakout-prone skin using natural ingredients.

The Yes To Tomatoes line, launched in 2008, leverages antioxidant-rich Tomato Extract, in addition to other natural ingredients like Watermelon Extract and powerful sebum-absorbers that balance skin, eliminate shine, detox pores, and reduce acne. Some of our Yes To Tomatoes formulas, like the Daily Detoxifying Cleanser with Charcoal, combine the power of Salicylic Acid and Tomato Extract to help unclog pores and draw out dirt and impurities for naturally clearer skin.

Acne-prone people may be afraid of moisturizers, thinking they will make oily skin worse, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Depriving the skin of moisture only causes the skin to produce more oil. Our Yes To Tomatoes line has several moisturizers and masks like the Charcoal Detoxifying Overnight Moisturizer and Daily Balancing Moisturizer that are specifically formulated to give oily, acne prone skin a boost of hydration.

So, what is your face waiting for? Give one of the products in our Yes To Tomatoes collection a try and stop breakouts before they even has a chance to start.

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition caused when excess oil and dead skin cells clog pores and hair follicles. It’s not the prettiest image. The causes can range from hormonal changes, excess sebum (oil) production, environmental pollutants, diet, and stress. The most common types of acne are whiteheads, black heads, and cystic acne.

Acne Solutions

Not all acne solutions will work overnight. It depends on the type of pimple and how far along in its development journey. The most standout ingredients for fighting breakouts include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Charcoal
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Sulfur
  • Witch Hazel
  • Tea Tree

To be really effective, you may need multiple products with different ingredients in your regimen. Good thing our Yes To Tomatoes collection has you covered with a full line up to build a custom routine.

Yes To Tomatoes Acne Products

Our Yes To Tomatoes product line is specially formulated for blemish-prone skin. The Daily Blemish Toner is packed with a powerful combo of blemish fighters like Charcoal, Witch Hazel, AHAs + BHAs, and Tea Tree Oil, which is naturally antimicrobial. Dermatologist Dr. Christine Choi Kim explains, “The Tomato Extract provides antioxidants to protect and brighten the skin, which is helpful when you are waiting for an old pimple to fade.”

We like to apply this toner with a cotton swab to help gently exfoliate the dead skin cells on the surface of your face and neck – just once or twice a week to start. With its potent 10% fruit acid formulation, it’s like giving yourself a mini-peel in the comfort of your home.

The Charcoal Detoxifying Overnight Moisturizer is also great for combination to oily skin types that are prone to breakouts, but still need hydration. It balances the pore-clarifying properties of Salicylic Acid and Charcoal with soothing ingredients like Coconut Oil and Aloe.

Dr. Kim points out, “The Tomato Extract provides natural antioxidants like Vitamin C and Lycopenes to combat free radicals.” We say, bonus points for the hygienic airless pump bottle that helps you to use a consistent amount at each application.

You may be the cleanser, moisturizer and go type, but if you’re looking for additional treatments that can help banish existing breakouts then spot treatments like our Zit Zapping Dots, which can be worn up to 10 hours overnight and have a medicated dose of Salicylic Acid in them to reduce the appearance of blemishes, might be right for you. If you want to pamper and purge pores, pick up our Charcoal Mud Mask. Your skin and your mood will thank you for the detox.

Kiss your next breakout goodbye before it even starts, thanks to your new Yes To Tomatoes skincare routine.