If you have troubled skin prone to breakouts, then you’ve likely heard of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, because these are two of the most popular active ingredients used in acne skin care products to help clear up blemishes fast.

But how are you supposed to know the difference and ensure you use the right product for your specific type of acne? That’s where your skin care professional comes in! But allow us to arm you with some educational info on these ingredients, so that you are well prepared when consulting with your provider.

By the end of this blog, you’ll feel like an acne pro, and you’ll be ready to tackle your breakouts head on! (excuse the pun)

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a favorite when it comes to banishing blemishes, because it has the unique ability to clear up the skin while providing soothing relief at the same time.

Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which works to clear up the skin by exfoliating and dislodging stubborn skin cells that can clog pores and result in pimples. It’s no surprise that salicylic acid has such powerful soothing and anti-inflammatory properties due to a chemical makeup closely related to acetylsalicylic acid (also known as aspirin).1

So to sum it up, salicylic acid helps to exfoliate and calm skin. It’s also wonderful for reducing the look of pore size, something oily skin sufferers long for.

The downside is that it can take up to four weeks to see results, so this is why it’s often recommended to alternate between salicylic acid to calm and soothe, and benzoyl peroxide, which you’ll learn more about next.

Benzoyl Peroxide

This powerful acne ingredient, also known as BPO, works on all kinds of acne lesions by effectively targeting acne-causing bacteria in the pores.

Benzoyl peroxide helps to exfoliate and remove the buildup of dead skin cells and sebum from the pores. Benzoyl Peroxide does not simply slow the growth of bacteria; it halts it right in its tracks by killing bacteria right away. For this reason, you can see results in as quickly as 5 days!

So to sum it up, benzoyl peroxide is great for all types of acne and it works by targeting bacteria in the pores. If your acne is particularly severe and you are also on antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide is great right alongside your meds, as it can help to prevent antibiotic resistance.2

Side Effects

Always be sure to consult with your dermatologist or skin care specialist before starting salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as an acne treatment. They will be able to ensure you use the right protocol and frequency of use, based on your skin, to help prevent or reduce side effects that could include peeling, dryness or redness if used incorrectly.

Products We Recommend

We recommend using products with both ingredients as part of a complete and balanced acne treatment regimen. This has shown to be highly effective, with benzoyl peroxide actively targeting bacteria, while salicylic acid gently exfoliates and calms skin. View our CLENZIderm M.D.TM system here.