BlueCatBaby says…Today I saw my dermatologist. When I told him that for the past 10 years I have been using salicylic acid which keeps me from getting pimples, he told me that it is now known that sal. acid does absolutely nothing to help acne. I haven’t heard this before, and honestly it seems that I get a few pimples whenever I skip a few days of using a Paula’s Choice sal. acid product. (Is it placebo effect?) Has anyone else heard about this?
The Left Brain responds:
I did a quick search of PubMed literature for recent (2010-2012) peer reviewed scientific journal articles on the subject of acne and sal acid. Any new discoveries about this trusted ingredient no longer working would certainly be reported here. Here’s what I found:
One article (entitled Management strategies for acne vulgaris) said “Mild acne responds favorably to topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and a low-dose retinoid.”
Another, (Salicylic Acid Peels Versus Jessner’s Solution for Acne Vulgaris: A Comparative Study) said “In terms of noninflammatory acne lesion counts, sites treated with salicylic acid showed significant improvement.”
And a third (Topical antimicrobial treatment of acne vulgaris: an evidence-based review) looked all the way back to 2004 and reported…”Although they have not been extensively studied, alternative agents including dapsone, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and zinc are safe and efficacious when combined with traditional therapies.”
There seems to be nothing that contradicts the conventional knowledge that salicylic acid is an effective anti-acne agent.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
I’m not sure where your derm is getting his or her information but until I see evidence to the contrary, I say that salicylic acid is still effective against acne.
- Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2011;4:41-53. Epub 2011 Apr 26. Management strategies for acne vulgaris. Whitney KM, Ditre CM.
- Dermatol Surg. 2012 Nov 2. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12018. [Epub ahead of print] Salicylic Acid Peels Versus Jessner’s Solution for Acne Vulgaris: A Comparative Study. Bae BG, Park CO, Shin H, Lee SH, Lee YS, Lee SJ, Chung KY, Lee KH, Lee JH.
- Am J Clin Dermatol. 2012 Jun 1;13(3):141-52. Topical antimicrobial treatment of acne vulgaris: an evidence-based review. Gamble R, Dunn J, Dawson A, Petersen B, McLaughlin L, Small A, Kindle S, Dellavalle RP.
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