What is salicylic acid?
There are big scientific names for salicylic acid which I need not bore you with. Salicylic acid is used for a number of skincare issues such as warts, calluses, birthmarks and acne. Your doctor may prescribe it in form of a cream or you can find it in healthcare products without the need for a prescription. It has become some-what a revolutionary product and a must-have for many people. The ingredients involved in the making of salicylic acid aids the deep penetration of the body’s pores and has a soothing, calming effect on angry spots.
What is Benzoyle peroxide?
This is an antibacterial ingredient more commonly associated with bleaching and whitening. Again, it may come in a prescribed cream/gel or in store-bought cleansers. Benzoyle peroxide has become as popular as salicylic acid as acne sufferers desperately try to rid themselves of their breakouts.
So not sure what to choose? I will always stand on the side of salicylic acid and here’s why:
Advantages of salicylic acid
- Penetrates deep into the pores to remove excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt and makeup.
- Treats the surface of the skin to calm and soothe angry spots. A treatment with salicylic acid as an ingredient aids your skin’s natural regeneration. This means that every 30 or so days, the outer layer of your skin regenerates and you are given a ‘new’ layer. By keeping your skin and pores clear with salicylic acid you allow this process in the best way therefore reducing acne scars.
- Can be used up to twice daily so you can use it in a routine and also as an emergency break-out buster.
- Is safe to use on sensitive skin.
- Safe to use on both the body and face (excluding genital area).
Disadvantages of salicylic acid
- In the first week or so of use, users commonly experience extra spots, tenderness and redness. It can give the impression that it is in-fact making your problem worse. Stick with it; it may take a couple of weeks before you start to see a difference.
- Advantages of Benzoyle peroxide
- Kills acne causing bacteria by penetrating pores.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Safe to use alongside salicylic acid treatment.
Okay, so you may have guessed, I’m a little biased. For some, Benzoyle peroxide probably works, you only have to look at product reviews to know that. However, the review is often left after the product has set in to work rather than the long-term effects such as dependency. The main aim when battling acne is to demolish the monstrous spots, restore a smooth, fresh and blemish free skin and keep it that way. If the product you’re using becomes the only reason for this then you have a problem. Being a salicylic acid fan I can tell you I initially treated my acne for one year before entirely satisfied with the outcome.
So my next step was letting it go from my life – That meant I also wanted to stop obsessing with my face and any little spot that appears (as this is normal from time to time). I started to reduce my three step salicylic acid treatment to one time a day (down from two times), only at night time as to wash away the day’s dirt and oil. No problem! No sudden outbreak, hurrah! Now, it has been a year and a half since starting my journey and I can go three to four days without using my products. I will simply just rinse my face with warm water while in the shower and I’m good to go.
I still have breakouts in particular when mother-nature comes calling once a month, and at stressful times. In these instances, I simply monitor my face for any sign of trouble as my telltale area will become oily. If it needs attention, I use a little salicylic acid scrub and moisturizer.
How many Benzoyle peroxide fans can say the same? Many of the reviews I’ve read have indeed praised it for saving their lives however many of them note that they have been using it since their teenage years! Most people state that they were prescribed it by a Doctor. Of course! It is easy for Doctors to prescribe a ‘quick fix’ but if you’re reading this then you probably know all too well that acne is a long-term issue. It takes over your whole life and instead of looking for the ultimate solution we tend to look for quick fixes so that we can restore our skin and get back to feeling confident. However if you do this, you will never truly be free. When you forget one night to apply your Benzoyle peroxide product, would you really feel ‘fixed’ when you wake up to your previous enemy? No! If you’re like me (slightly forgetful) then you need freedom with your skincare regime to allow for them moments. Even early on in my salicylic acid treatment, I forgot to apply it (or got home to drunk and couldn’t physically stand at the sink to complete a ten minute facial) but it had no bad repercussions. I just simply applied it when I next remembered or once sobered! Honestly tell me, can anyone using Benzoyle peroxide say the same?