Who wins the fight on acne? Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid?
The two main ingredients currently used in over-the-counter acne medication are Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. Benzoyl Peroxide is an ingredient that peels the skin in order to increase its rate of turnover and clear out the pores. Sounds great, right? Not so fast… it is also a bleaching agent that can actually bleach fabric, and even your hair! That can be harsh for skin purposes, not to mention your clothes and hair color. Benzoyl Peroxide is not ideal (or even designed) for sensitive skin because it can cause excessive drying, which can lead to even more acne breakouts.
Salicylic Acid, on the other hand, was developed from the bark of a willow tree and has been used since ancient times in many different cultures as an anti-inflammatory drug. These days, its primary use is to fight:
Just like Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid is a peeling agent. However Salicylic Acid, unlike Benzoyl Peroxide, also prevents pores from ever getting clogged in the first place. This is perfect for fighting blemishes, white heads, black heads, and numerous other types of problem skin that result from acne.
While Benzoyl Peroxide is a harsh peeling agent that fights the bacteria that causes acne, Salicylic Acid is a gentle peeling agent that additionally exfoliates dead skin to keep blemishes from forming. While it’s true that every skin type is different, and in its own way unique, Salicylic Acid tends to be more widely tolerated, as well as more effective.