Do you struggle with annoyingly persistent whiteheads and blackheads? Maybe they seemingly throw a rager on your skin’s surface after every sweaty-gym sesh? Or perhaps you’ve noticed your skin looking (and feeling) a little dull or dry each morning? Either way, there may be a face care ingredient that can help: salicylic acid; it’s known for its ability to kick blemishes to the curb, while also exfoliating, building collagen, and fighting bacteria. It’s basically a strengthening jack-of-all-trades ingredient, which is why men everywhere can’t stop talking about it.
Have some questions about salicylic acid? Like – how often should you use salicylic acid? What exactly does it do? Are there a lot of face care benefits associated with it? To answer those and more, here’s the scoop on salicylic acid for men:
What’s Salicylic Acid? How Often Should You Use Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid comes from willow bark and belongs to a class of ingredients that are known as salicylates; they’re naturally found in various plants (fruits, veg, herbs, and spices) and serve different purposes. Regarding salicylic acid for men in skincare products, there are two main classes of acids: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).
"Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA)," says cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller. "This means the hydroxy part of the molecule is separated from the acid part by two carbon atoms, as opposed to an alpha hydroxy acid where they're separated by one. This structure is important because it makes salicylic acid more oil-soluble so it can penetrate the skin's pores.”
To summarize, AHAs and BHAs can both exfoliate your skin, but AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs are oil-soluble. "Generally, oil-soluble ingredients penetrate through the lipid layers between the skin cells more readily," explains board-certified dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. This means that BHAs can penetrate the skin at a deeper level than AHAs.
MOX Breakdown: AHAs work well on your skin’s surface by loosening dead cells to reveal newer skin. BHAs – on the other hand – work deeper by penetrating into your pores and unclogging them. Are you asking yourself, “How often should you use salicylic acid for men?” The Cleveland Clinic recommends using AHAs every other day, while BHAs can be used daily.
Salicylic Acid for Men: The Benefits
Grasping face care as a guy is difficult in today’s world, especially as we’re expected to know what every ingredient on every label does and if it’s good for us. To take the guesswork out of face care, MOX is dedicated to providing men with top-notch, high-quality info 100% of the time.
Salicylic acid – one of those ingredients you’ve probably heard of or seen a time or two on a label – offers several strong skin benefits, making it a refueling ingredient that people can’t get enough of. Here are the benefits of using face care formulated with salicylic acid for men:
- Exfoliates: As we said above, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) known for its ability to penetrate deeply into your skin’s pores. It exfoliates your skin by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, revealing smoother, young-looking skin underneath.
- Unclogs Pores: Salicylic acid is known for its ability to clear clogged pores; it gets deep into your pores to dissolve sebum (your skin's natural oil) and other substances that can form blemishes. By keeping your pores clear, it can help prevent future breakouts.
- Reduces Inflammation: Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm redness and irritation associated with blemishes and other skin conditions. It can also be beneficial for men with sensitive, oily, or rosacea-prone skin.
- Improves Skin Texture: Regular use of salicylic acid for men in face care can lead to improved skin texture. By removing dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover, it can help minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.
- Treats Skin Conditions: Salicylic acid can be used to manage various skin conditions, including psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and keratosis pilaris. This is because it's able to expertly reduce scaling, flaking, and redness associated with these conditions.
- Brightens Skin: Similar to good-for-men ingredients like vitamin C, salicylic acid can give your skin a brighter and more healthy appearance by removing dull, dead skin cells and promoting a smoother skin surface.
- Protects Against Sun Damage: Did you know that up to 80% of age-related wrinkling is connected to sun exposure? Luckily, BHAs are known to stop UVB-induced sunburn cell formation (good riddance!) and can be used as a topical protectant against sun damage.
Back to the Whole “How Often Should You Use Salicylic Acid?” Thing…
Even though we’ve answered the question of “How often should you use salicylic acid?” Stop before you move forward with a new product formulated with salicylic acid for men as everyone’s skin reacts to things differently, which is why it’s always vital to do a patch test.
To perform a patch test, simply put a small amount of product on your wrist or inner elbow. Wait for a few minutes to see if you have any negative reactions (AKA red skin or a rash). If you do, make sure to wipe the product off immediately, stop using it completely, and give your doc a call.
How Do You Use Salicylic Acid for Men? Are There Any Salicylic Acid Side Effects?
"Depending on the concentration and number of applications, some guys may experience dryness, peeling, redness, and skin irritation from salicylic acid," says Schueller (you can have too much of a good thing!). Because of salicylic acid’s side effects, many experts recommend chatting with your dermatologist before using products containing high concentrations of it.
Schueller also says that you should avoid salicylic acid if you’re pregnant or taking certain meds, like blood thinners. However, it’s important to remember that most face care products only contain 2% salicylic acid, which is incredibly low. “If used appropriately, it can be tolerated quite well,” says Seemal Desai, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Texas.
When starting a new product that’s formulated with salicylic acid for men, Desai says to remember that skincare isn’t a sprint; it’s a mild jog, so it’s okay to move with patience. Slowly introduce new products to your skin by using them every other day. After a few weeks, try using the product daily to see how your skin reacts.
Salicylic Acid for Men: Refuel Your Skin With MOX’s Powerful Vitamin-Rich Formulas
At MOX, we believe that you deserve high-quality skincare that’s as strong as you are. This is why our products are formulated by a Pharmacist and Nutritionist, who uses his expertise to infuse each product with vitamins and other enriching ingredients like salicylic acid, peppermint oil, Squalane, electrolytes, and lipids to exercise and refuel your skin cell-deep. It’s what makes MOX different from other brands; we don’t use anything your skin doesn’t need.
The MOX Daily Face Care Kit (which men everywhere are digging so says the plentiful five-star reviews) features the Invigorating Peppermint Cleanser and Multi Nutrient Serum. The Invigorating Peppermint Cleanser removes surface dirt without disturbing your skin’s good-for-you natural oils and energetically braces your skin like an ice bath for your face, while our Multi Nutrient Serum is clinically proven to build collagen, improve strength, and increase moisture.
DID YOU KNOW? Most brands with cleansers on the market don’t harness the power of salicylic acid. We decided to celebrate and showcase the benefits behind salicylic acid by adding it to the lipid-rich Invigorating Peppermint Cleanser formulation. The salicylic acid in it won’t dry out your skin or leave it tight because of the lipids that prevent the absorption of impurities and dirt, allowing salicylic acid to really shine and do its thing.
Check out this five-star review from an elated MOX customer who’s been using the Daily Face Care Kit regularly:
Experience salicylic acid for men in the MOX Daily Face Care Kit (or grab it as a gift for someone you know). And don’t forget – (for those of you who were asking: How often should you use salicylic acid?) face care is different for every guy out there, so take your time introducing your skin to new ingredients and products. Patience is key!