So, is salicylic acid a serum?
The answer is yes, and no. It really depends on how you define serums.
I’m going to explain what a serum is below and then I’ll show you why salicylic acid fits the definition of a serum in one form.
Is Salicylic Acid a Serum?
Salicylic acid can be used as a serum for many skin problems. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and it exfoliates the skin to remove dead cells, build collagen and help prevent breakouts.
It is also an ingredient in many acne medications because it helps to unclog pores and prevent blemishes.
You can find salicylic acid in many over-the-counter products, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and masks.
The word serum actually refers to the solution itself rather than the ingredient within it.
For example, you may find that your favorite serum contains vitamin C or hyaluronic acid as its main ingredient — but this doesn’t necessarily mean these are the only things in the formula!
Some serums contain just one active ingredient while others contain several different ones; it all depends on what you’re looking for from your skin care regimen.
How to Use Salicylic Acid as a Serum
1. Use Salicylic Acid on Acne Scars
Acne scars are simply depressed areas on your skin that occur when the dermis layer of your skin is damaged by acne lesions.
While they may be considered permanent, salicylic acid can help treat them by dissolving the top layers of dead skin cells that cover them up and revealing new, healthy skin underneath.
The results will vary depending on how severe your scarring is, but this treatment can definitely help reduce the appearance of acne scars over time if used consistently over months or years.
2. Treat Hyperpigmentation with Salicylic Acid
Hyperpigmentation occurs when too much melanin (the pigment that gives color to your skin) is produced in one area, causing dark spots or blotches to appear on the face or body due to sun exposure or other factors like hormonal changes or inflammation from conditions like rosacea or eczema.
3. Cleanse your face
Cleanse your face with a salicylic acid cleanser before applying any other products.
This will help remove dead skin cells and excess oil from the pores, which can prevent pimples from forming.
4. Use a salicylic acid toner
Use a salicylic acid toner before applying moisturizer to your face to tighten pores so they’re less likely to clog up with oil later on in the day.
Moisturize with a salicylic acid moisturizer twice daily to help keep skin hydrated and soft while also preventing breakouts from occurring.
6. Spot treatment
Apply a spot treatment containing salicylic acid directly onto blemishes as soon as you see them forming to speed up their healing process and prevent them from getting any bigger than they need to be.
7. Acne treatment
Apply an acne treatment containing salicylic acid once or twice per week at night only for maximum effectivity against acne-causing bacteria deep within the pores of your face.
This method may cause dryness or irritation.
Benefits of Using Salicylic Acid as a Serum
Here are the top benefits of using salicylic acid as a serum:
1. Acne treatment
Salicylic acid can help treat acne by killing bacteria and dissolving dead skin cells.
2. Pore shrinkage
Salicylic acid helps shrink the size of your pores by loosening up the gunk inside them, which makes them look smaller from the outside too.
3. Reduces oil production in your skin
Salicylic acid helps control oil production by breaking down thickened oils that clog pores and lead to breakouts on your face and body.
4. Anti-aging benefits for aging skin
A study published in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that applying salicylic acid topically can improve elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles on aging skin.
Especially when combined with vitamin C serum or other anti-aging treatments like retinol cream or peptides serums.
The best way to answer this question is to delve deeper into the science behind what an exfoliant serum actually is.
By doing that, we can see that serums do in fact contain salicylic acid (SA) and can thus be called a salicylic acid serum.
Some of the most effective parts of these anti-acne products are their active ingredients, which include SA and retinol.
But if you want to call your product just a serum, you’re still free to do so—just know that it includes an exfoliant with as much potential efficacy.