My ode to salicylic acid

My skin is far from perfect, but I rely on (and religiously use) myriad lotions and potions to keep a variety of beauty concerns under control. And after taking a closer look at the products I use every day, something dawned on me… One ingredient keeps popping up over and over again, and this omnipresent skin-saver is salicylic acid.

Derived from willow bark, this beta-hydroxy acid is actually closely related to aspirin (which is why you can make a zit-zapping paste simply by crushing up a tablet and adding a bit of little water). But, alas, I’m not a huge DIYer, so here’s a round-up of the SA products that are currently in the rotation.

Morning cleanser: Without fail, I start my AM routine with an SA cleanser to help clear away the excess oil, dirt and debris that leads to the clogged pores. I use it along with my Clarisonic, which I prefer the morning because my skin is free of makeup, and it gives circulation a boost. I’m not picky about brand, and frankly, I usually go for a drugstore generic to save a little money. But you can’t go wrong with Neutrogena.

Back spray: I live in Florida, so I don’t need to explain how hot and humid it is. Every. Day. I have a tendency to break out on my back, which doesn’t help when the weather dictates strappy tank tops. I keep back blemishes at bay with Glytone’s Back Acne Spray after the shower. Packed with SA that exfoliates the uppermost levels of skin to prevent dead cells from clogging pores, it sprays from any angle so I know my entire upper back is covered.

Ingrown treatment: I’m not that big into rules of any kind, but I never, ever shave above my knees—and my standing every-three-week wax appointment with Marta is proof. But no matter how long I’ve been waxing, I still get ingrowns on the backs of my legs and on my bikini line, which is why I’ve been using Tend Skin for years. Similar to how SA prevents pimples, this solution eliminates the top few layers of dead skin so hairs don’t get trapped beneath. I like the refillable bottle with the rollerball.

Spot treatment: Despite my preventative measures, pimples still pop up from time to time—and once again, SA comes to the rescue. My absolute favorite spot treatment isn’t a cream or a gel… It’s Missha’s Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch Set. They’re little clear stickers that are so discreet, you can wear them during the day—and they come is various sizes to accommodate eruptions of different magnitudes. In addition to SA, they also contain tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid (to prevent a big dry spot once the zit is gone) and grape seed oil to soothe.

So are you a salicylic acid junkie, too? What are your go-to products?

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