Salicylic acid is something those exfoliating-enthusiasts among you may already be very well aware of. However, if salicylic acid is a new concept to you, Beauty by the Geeks is here to turn that around!

Salicylic acid, like many of the ingredients in skincare products, is derived from plants. In plants, salicylic acid acts like a hormone and takes part in many functions. Although we focus mainly on the topical application of salicylic acid, it can actually be found in many of the foods we eat today such as blackberries, blueberries and grapes!

In terms of our skincare products, you will often find salicylic acid in exfoliating solutions due to its keratolytic effects. ‘Keratolytic’ agents act by loosening the uppermost layer of the skin by breaking down the bonds between individual cells. This helps shed our dry skin, which is why you will find it in many of your exfoliating and cleansing products. It is also used in higher concentrations in the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and warts.

However, salicylic acid’s skincare benefits don’t just stop for getting rid of dry skin! Salicylic acid is a byproduct of aspirin when it is broken down in the body and is the ingredient responsible for anti-inflammatory effects in relieving pain. It has been thought to do this by suppressing the expression of some of the key proteins that causes inflammation and redness. These include COX ezymes and a molecule called NF-kB, both of which are central to inflammatory reactions. This makes it even more useful in the treatment of skin problems as many skin conditions have an inflammatory basis, meaning that salicylic acid can help calm inflamed, irritated skin, as well as  exfoliating!

It’s also been shown to protect the skin against UV in a couple of neat ways. Firstly, salicyclic acid inhibits sunburn cell formation induced by exposure to UVB (that’s the type of UV which can turn us into lobster if we neglect the sun cream!). Secondly, it increases the rate that cells remove UV-induced lesions in the DNA of cells – this repair process is central to maintaining healthy skin cells!

So next time you are browsing for your next face wash, bear in mind what a little dose of salicylic acid could do for you!