Last Updated: 15th Sept 2017
Salicylic Acid is one of the most popular acne and blackhead fighting ingredients out there and for many good reasons. Otherwise known as Beta Hydroxy Acid or as simply "BHA", it is a chemical exfoliant that is able to penetrate deep into our skin’s pores and unclog them.
It work's it's magic by breaking up the blockages of sebum (oil) and dead skin cells from the inside which prevents pimples from occurring in the first place.
Also coupled with its anti-inflammatory and minor anti-bacterial properties, it can be a useful tool for those looking to treat already inflamed acne and pimples.
If you have Oily or Combination and deal with pimples and blackheads (acne-prone), BHA's are a fantastic ingredient to incorporate into your routine.
For those with dry and sensitive skin, BHA's can also be useful but we do caution easing into them slowly by introducing weaker BHA products first.
Too high of a concentration can potentially cause irritation, dryness and peeling - don't forget to keep your skin moisturized as well!
An ingredient with great effects, so we had to round up the internet's top 10 BHA products based on their popularity.
It's no accident that most of the products we've curated are leave-on products (serums, toners or moisturizers)!
Salicylic acid needs to be left on your skin to be able to completely work its magic. When found in wash-off products such as cleansers, it doesn't have enough time for its effects to take place/
Without further ado, here are your internet’s top 10 BHA products and in no particular order :
A Korean beauty favourite that garniers attention all over the internet and discussion boards. It's a great beginner step into using BHA's as it does not contain Salicylic Acid itself but a more gentler version called Betaine Salicylate. Coupled with Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water for it's anti-inflammatory benefits and Niacinamide to help with brightening and strengthening skin, this minimal toner packs a powerful punch of great effects.
This Mizon toner is another Korean Beauty favorite which has been around the scene long enough for it be recognized as a cult favorite. As its name suggests, it contains both BHA and AHA to help not only with fighting acne but even out your skin's texture. It was rumored to be out of production but likely due to it's high demand, Mizon had brought it back!
If you've been around the Skincare game for a while then Paula's Choice is a familiar name. Their Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is one of their most iconic products out of their vast AHA and BHA product range. Although the prices have hiked over the past few years, it still remains a skincare favorite amongst many. For those BHA beginners with tolerable skin, this might be a good entry into BHA for you!
Despite not being a mainstream Korean beauty brand, CHICA Y CHICO Beta Salic 2.0 has often been labelled as a "miracle cream". A quick look at the ingredients and it's not hard to see why. With Betaine Salicylate (gentlier form of Salicylic Acid) to help fight acne, it also has ingredients such as Panthenol and Centella Asiatica Extract to help with healing and a AHA (Glycolic Acid) to help brighten your skin - this cream is a real triple threat.
From the popular beauty brand Clinique, this is one of Sephora's beauty community's favorite. With Salicylic Acid at its core, it's coupled with Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) which is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient, making this toner a potentially great acne fighter (as it's name suggests!)
An easy to find BHA product in your local US drugstores, it comes in the form of pads. It's a commonly mentioned as a holy grail BHA product by the lovely members of the Subreddit /r/Skincareaddiction and it's no surprise. At an extremely affordable price and 2% BHA, it's definitely on the stronger side so we suggest easing into it with caution.
Although more of an AHA product than a BHA product, we couldn't leave this one off the list. With 3 AHA ingredients (Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid & Citric Acid) to help loosen dead skin and even skin tone, coupled with BHA (Salicylic Acid) to fight acne, this serum contains serious exfoliating power. If you've had previous experience with chemical exfoliation and have tough skin (not sensitive!) that can tolerate it - this might be the choice for you. With it's ingredients, it's not hard to see why it's constantly raved about.
Another Cosrx toner packed with goodies! This Korean toner has a similar chemical exfoliating ingredient profile like Drunk Elephant's serum, containing 2 AHA ingredients (Glycolic Acid & Lactic Acid) and the gentler version of Salicylic Acid, Betaine Salicylate. The addition of Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil which is a proven anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient gives it that extra boost at fighting acne.
A well-known Japanese brand and a popular toner (Note: In Japanese cosmetics, they often name Toners as Lotions) from their skincare range. Like many of the above products covered, it is an AHA/BHA product with 2 AHA (Citric Acid & Lactic Acid) ingredients and Salicylic Acid as it's BHA. This also makes its notable ingredient profile similar to the popular Drunk Elephant serum with strong chemical exfoliation - maybe it's the secret to these product's popularity!
Another Sephora beauty community's favorite, the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Serum contains Salicylic Acid as it's BHA. Paired with other brightening ingredients such as Morus Nigra Root Extract, a plant extract that contains amounts of Arbutin (known to help with skin brightening) and Acetyl Glucosamine. It makes it another great multi-purpose BHA product.
That sums up our round up of the internet’s top 10 BHA (Salicylic Acid) products out there! If you’re looking for that product to help you unclog those pores and get rid of those blackheads, it’s hard to go wrong from choosing one of the above.
If you’ve used them before, let us know what you think by leaving a review on Skincarisma!