Nature’s Acne Fighter: How Salicylic Acid Works On Blemish-Prone Skin

Nature’s Acne Fighter: How Salicylic Acid Works On Blemish-Prone Skin

When you look in the mirror, what you want to see is you. Not the breakouts. Not the blackheads. Not the oiliness that says more acne is on the way. And yet so many acne products seem to make things worse. Thats why we love salicylic acid—the natural cleanser ingredient thats as gentle as it is effective. What is this wonder ingredient—and how does it work so well on blemish-prone skin?



Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid derived from white willow bark. As a beta hydroxy acid, its different from the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used in our Superfuit AHA Brightening Masque because its oil-soluble. That means it can penetrate the pores for deep, deep cleansing. And yet its incredibly gentle, making it the perfect way to care for acne-prone skin. 

As a deep cleanser, what does salicylic acid do to your skin? 

Reduces swelling and redness

Salicylic acid is one of natures great anti-inflammatories. With acne-prone skin, seeing a breakout for what it is—an inflammation—means it needs special treatment for the swelling and redness. Salicylic acid calms, soothes and fades the redness. 

Purifies oily skin

Because salicylic acid is also oil soluble and can penetrate the pores at such a deep level, if you have oily skin, it can break though the oil sitting on the surface and purify the skin so much better than a basic soap. You might also want to read our article Tackle That T-zone: Help for Combination Skin. 

That said, you dont have to have oily acne-prone skin for salicylic acid to bring your skin noticeable clarity. 

Diminishes blackheads all together

At our apothecary in BC, women always ask: How do you get rid of blackheads? 

You might have thought those blackheads were with you for life, but guess what? Salicylic acid, when applied regularly, directly dissolves the blackhead and, over time, can eliminate them all together—while tightening and shrinking the pores so you can look in the mirror and see your clearest skin ever. 

Helps prevent further breakouts

Acne-prone skin cells behave differently: The cells like to clump and stick together. That leads to clogged pores and cyst-like blemishes. With its deep-cleansing capability, salicylic acid can actually get between that intracellular glue thats often at the root of so many breakouts.



Salicylic acid really is the holy grail of ingredients for a plant-based cleanser for acne-prone skin. As we were formulating the ideal cleanser for those who struggle with acne, we couldnt believe this wonder ingredient was right here, in white willow bark. 

Where many acne cleansers are harsh and often create a cycle of more breakouts, more oiliness, more redness, salicylic acid just works. 

TRY: White Willow Purifying Cleansing Gel

While the name ‘salicylic acid’ might make you think it would have a drying effect, in the proper concentration and a well-formulated cleanser, it really is natures best ingredient for acne. 

It is absolutely safe to use salicylic acid in a cleanser like our White Willow cleanser every day. And since its safe, gentle and natural, anyone can use it on any skin type and stage of life.

What does it mean to use natural skincare at every step in your regime? Discover your most healthy, glowing skin with our clean beauty products crafted with care. Shop by skin type and check out our mini kits for blemish prone skin so you can experience the difference in our trial sizes. 

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