Salicylic Acid

Should Salicylic Acid Be Used on Damp Skin?

2 Mins read

Should salicylic acid (SA) be used on damp skin or dry?

This is a commonly asked question.

To find an answer, I’ll look at studies and examine the mechanisms of SA in detail.

Should Salicylic Acid Be Used on Damp Skin?

If you’re using a salicylic acid-based cleanser, it is best to use it on damp skin. The reason for this is that the salicylic acid will penetrate more deeply if your skin is slightly damp.

This will allow the acne-fighting ingredient to get down into your pores and clear up any congestion that may be inside them.

It’s also important to note that using salicylic acid while your skin is dry can be particularly harsh because it can strip away the natural oils in your skin, causing irritation and dryness.

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How Long Should Salicylic Acid Be Used on Damp Skin?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, salicylic acid should be applied to damp skin for 10 to 30 minutes before rinsing off with water or using a warm washcloth.

This allows the acid to penetrate into pores and loosen dead skin cells so they can be easily removed by rinsing or scrubbing with a washcloth.

How to Use Salicylic Acid on Damp Skin

Here are some ways you can use salicylic acid on damp skin:

Step 1

Clean your face with a gentle cleanser first.

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Step 2

Pat your skin with a clean damp towel.

Step 3

Apply a thin layer of salicylic acid cream or gel to your entire face and neck.

Step 4

Wait 20 minutes before applying any other products on top of the salicylic acid.

Step 5

Wash your face with warm water and gently pat dry to remove excess moisture from the surface of your skin.

Step 6

Apply moisturizer to damp skin or wait until you are completely dry before applying moisturizer.

Step 7

Use sunscreen on a daily basis to protect yourself from sun damage and premature aging.

Step 8

Try not to touch or pick at acne or blemishes, as this could cause scarring and further irritation to the skin around the blemish area.

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Step 9

Avoid using harsh exfoliating products on your face, since these can irritate dry and sensitive skin types even more than normal exfoliants do for normal or oily skin types.

Final Thoughts

Salicylic acid is generally okay to use on damp skin, and for the most part, it comes down to personal preference.

It’s very difficult if not impossible to get a chemical burn from using salicylic acid as long as you give your skin enough time to dry out between applications, so testing it out isn’t going to be harmful in any way.