Salicylic Acid

How to Fix Dry Skin From Salicylic Acid

5 Mins read

Maybe your skin felt a little extra smooth after the exfoliating action of salicylic acid, but then ended up drying out after just a few days of noticing a result.

This has happened to me before, and in this post I hope to help you out if you’re trying to fix dry skin from salicylic acid.

How to Fix Dry Skin From Salicylic Acid

Here are 7 tips for making salicylic acid work better for your skin.

1. Use a Moisturizer

The best way to avoid dry skin is to moisturize your face regularly.

Applying a moisturizer will help keep your skin hydrated and prevent it from becoming dry.

2. Avoid Alcohol-Based Toners

Toners with alcohol can be very drying for your skin, so if you have dry skin, you should use a toner that’s free of alcohol.

3. Use Salicylic Acid With Caution

Salicylic acid is often used as an acne treatment because it helps remove dead skin cells that clog pores and cause acne breakouts.

However, salicylic acid also has a drying effect on the skin, so if you have dry skin, it’s best not to use this ingredient on its own without first applying a moisturizer beforehand.

If you have oily or combination skin, then salicylic acid might be fine for you because these types of skin are usually less prone to dehydration than those with dry or sensitive skin types.

4. Avoid Retinoids If Possible

Retinoids are medications that contain vitamin A derivatives and work by increasing cell turnover rates in the outermost layer of your skin (the stratum corneum), which makes them useful.

6. Use a gentle cleanser

Salicylic acid can make your skin more sensitive, so it’s important to use a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate or strip your skin.

Look for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid and is pH-balanced for use on the face (5.5 to 6.5).

7. Use hydrating serums before applying other products

Serums are thinner than creams and lotions, so they penetrate deeper into the skin faster than thicker products do — which means they can help keep your skin hydrated longer during the day or night.

SEE ALSO:  How to Treat Salicylic Acid Rash

You can also layer serums over thicker moisturizers to boost their effectiveness even more!

Why Does Salicylic Acid Cause Dryness?

Here’s why: When salicylic acid dissolves dead skin cells, it also dissolves all the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated.

These oils are called lipids and they’re found in abundance in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin).

When salicylic acid breaks down these lipids, your skin can become dehydrated and flaky.

How to Know if Your Skin is Dry From Salicylic Acid

If you’re using salicylic acid as a treatment for your acne, it’s important to keep an eye on your skin.

Salicylic acid causes dryness and irritation in some people, but only if the user isn’t taking proper care of their face.

In order to know if your skin is dry from salicylic acid use, there are several telltale signs that should point you in the right direction.

If you notice any of these signs, make sure to switch up your skincare routine until they go away:

1. Excess peeling or flaking

Dryness can be caused by over-exfoliating or over-exfoliation.

This happens frequently when people don’t exfoliate correctly and use harsh products like chemical peels too often or incorrectly.

Both situations will cause excessive dryness and irritation due to constant scraping against the surface of the skin.

If this sounds familiar (and/or keeps happening despite changing how often or how hard you’re exfoliating), consider switching out harsher products with gentler ones such as cleansers containing hyaluronic acid instead!

2. Dry skin that feels tight and uncomfortable

This can happen if your skin gets too dry from over-exfoliating, especially in combination with other factors like cold weather or low humidity.

It’s important to figure out what’s making the dryness worse so you can adjust accordingly.

Some people have naturally drier areas on their face than others (like around the nose), which may make them more prone to experiencing this issue.

How Long Does It Take for Skin to Heal From Salicylic Acid?

While the amount of time it takes for skin to heal varies from person to person, generally it takes about three days for the redness to subside after using salicylic acid treatment.

SEE ALSO:  Should Salicylic Acid Be Used on Damp Skin?

The peeling process can take up to two weeks or longer to completely heal.

For instance, if you have dry or sensitive skin and are using a 2% salicylic acid cleanser three times per day, then expect the healing time to be longer than someone with normal or oily skin using a 0.5% salicylic acid cream once daily on their face only.

The same goes for those with acne who are using an OTC treatment containing 10% salicylic acid twice weekly.

Their healing time will differ from someone who has normal-to-oily skin who uses OTC products containing 0.5% salicylic acid once daily or less frequently (like every few days).

Does Hyaluronic Acid Help Dry Skin From Salicylic Acid?

The good news is that hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it attracts water to the skin.

This makes it an excellent ingredient for dry skin.

However, you’ll have to be careful with this ingredient if your salicylic acid products contain alcohol because they can cause irritation when combined and may end up irritating your skin further.

Will Applying Moisturizer at the Same Time With Salicylic Acid Reduce Breakouts?

You might think that using a moisturizer along with your salicylic acid would help the dryness, but it won’t.

You may be tempted to apply a lotion or serum before applying the peeling agent, thinking it will prevent flaking and scaling.

However, this isn’t necessarily true.

While moisturizing can reduce the dryness caused by salicylic acid, it won’t actually fix the skin texture problems you’re experiencing.

The best way to find relief from these symptoms is simply by waiting for them to pass on their own (which they will if you continue using only products containing salicylic acid).

How Much is Too Much Salicylic Acid?

It’s not exactly clear how much salicylic acid is too much.

The FDA has set a limit of 2% for over-the-counter acne treatments, but that doesn’t mean you should go crazy with your usage—especially if you’re using it on dry skin or as part of your skincare routine.

SEE ALSO:  How Long to Wait Between Salicylic Acid and Retinol?

If you’re using a higher percent than 2%, there’s a chance that the salicylic acid may irritate or damage dry skin and cause redness or flaking instead of eliminating blemishes.

Even if the packaging says “for combination skin,” high concentrations could be too harsh for some people with drier complexions, especially given that salicylic acid can’t penetrate deeply into the upper layers of skin where pimples tend to form.

Also, take note: If you have sensitive skin and experience irritation after using an acne treatment containing salicylic acid, stop using it immediately and contact a dermatologist for advice on what else might work better!

Salicylic acid is most effective when used twice daily—but only at lower concentrations (around 0.5%) applied gently onto clean face areas where whiteheads/blackheads have formed.

Otherwise, its power can backfire by causing excessive drying out which may lead to more breakouts!

How Do You Reduce the Effects of Salicylic Acid on Skin?

To minimize the dryness that can come from using salicylic acid, you should use a moisturizer.

Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble and water-insoluble chemical compound, so it does not wash off easily with water alone.

Instead, you’ll want to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer that contains ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid in order to lock in hydration and prevent flaking.

Also, remember:

  • Oil-based moisturizers will only make your skin feel worse by clogging pores further
  • Gel and cream formulas are too heavy for sensitive skin types (they can cause irritation)
  • Lotion formulas don’t offer enough hydration

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this post has helped to explain some of the reasons why salicylic acid can cause dryness.

We also shared some tips on how to fix dry skin from salicylic acid and how long it will take for your skin to heal.

If you’re still having problems with dryness after using a product with salicylic acid in it, we recommend switching to something else!