Men’s exfoliation: The benefits of salicylic acid in men’s skincare

Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are a real pain to get rid of, and it can feel like you’ve tried just about everything to no avail. Could salicylic acid be the answer? Just what is salicylic acid, exactly? An oil-soluble acid derived from willow bark, salicylic acid helps you manage blemishes and finally get the smooth skin you strive for. How does it work and what other salicylic acid benefits are there? How does salicylic acid exfoliate your skin? You can find out here, with our all-you-need-to-know guide to one of our favourite men’s skincare ingredients.

What is salicylic acid?

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So, there are two main types of acids you’ll come across when looking at skincare: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Salicylic acid is an example of the former, meaning that the acid part of the molecule and the hydroxy part of the molecule are separated by two carbon atoms instead of just one, like in AHAs.

Beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid, are oil-soluble – salicylic acid is a type of salicylate, and is usually derived from willow bark (as we explained above), but it can also be produced synthetically. Plus, it can even be found in some fruits and vegetables.

In comparison, alpha hydroxy acids include lactic acid and glycolic acid, and it’s water-soluble so won’t penetrate your skin as deeply as BHAs.

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Salicylic acid benefits for skin

Simply put, salicylic acid is great for managing blemished skin, as it works below the surface, really getting into your pores to unclog them. It’s particularly effective on whiteheads and blackheads, but works with pimples too. Being oil-soluble, it works to hydrate your skin and even fight bacteria.

Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples appear when your pores get clogged with debris – mostly oil and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid penetrates your skin, not only unclogging your pores, but loosening your dead skin cells as well. This ‘glue’ holds cells together, so by breaking it down it decreases oil secretion and exfoliates. Meanwhile, it also works as an anti-inflammatory – if you have any pimples that are inflamed, it’ll do the job, while also breaking them down.

Preventing blackheads, reducing redness and inflammation, and making your skin look better – there are plenty of salicylic acid benefits. It can take a few weeks to see a difference, however, so it’s important to be patient and have trust in the process.

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How to use salicylic acid to exfoliate

Just how does salicylic acid exfoliate your skin? The acid is a type of keratolytic medication, which softens the skin cells on the top layer, so cream with salicylic acid fits the bill if you’re looking to exfoliate your skin. It’s an ingredient that can be found many different skincare products, from exfoliating face wash for men to various creams, men’s exfoliate is becoming all the rage! Why not check out those from our Pure Carbon range, which we’ll talk about in a little more detail below?

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Exfoliating face wash for men

You can try our Pure Carbon 3 in 1 Daily Face Wash, which contains both salicylic acid and natural volcanic materials, exfoliating your skin and also protecting against spots! Fitting our exfoliating face wash for men into your usual routine couldn’t be easier, as you just apply it onto your wet face and rinse with water, or leave it on for five minutes as a mask. What’s more, you only need to use it twice a week at most, so it won’t be too time-consuming!
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Men’s face cream with salicylic acid

Would you rather use a cream with salicylic acid instead of or alongside a face wash? If so, our Anti-Spot Exfoliating Daily Face Cream could fit the bill. With dual salicylic acid, it exfoliates and hydrates the skin, making it smoother and softer, while also minimising the appearance of blemishes and marks. It can be used in the morning and evening, and while you can use it on its own, it works well when applied after our Daily Face Wash. Like the face wash above, it’s enriched with volcanic materials, while also absorbing sebum and making your skin appear soft and smooth. 

If you want to explore men’s exfoliate in more detail, you can check out our Pure Carbon range here.

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