Salicylic acid for older skin


Salicylic acid has long been a staple in the beauty cupboards of the young and acne-prone, but the powerful ingredient isn’t just reserved for young skin. It has an array of benefits that suit older skin, too.

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We spoke with skin care expert, Fiona Tuck and Paula’s Choice Founder, Paula Begoun about why salicylic acid is suitable for older skin and how you can include it in your routine…

What is salicylic acid and why is it used in skin care?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, working in the follicles to clear dead skin cells and congestion but it also can help to refine uneven skin tone…” Tuck explains.

In fact, according to Begoun, there is almost nothing salicylic acid can’t do when it comes to helping different skin types and concerns. Aside from its acne-fighting power, Begoun explains that it also has, “…powerful anti-inflammatory properties (it is derived from aspirin), it reduces redness and helps reduce inflammation from ongoing environmental damage.”

Why is salicylic acid good for older skin?

“Skin at any age (even someone like me who is 65) can have enlarged clogged pores, dry surface, and rough texture,” Begoun explains.”Using a well-formulated salicylic acid exfoliant means that overnight you can wake up seeing a significant difference that gets better with continued use.” While it can help reduce some of the damage caused by age and sun exposure, Paula does caution that BHA isn’t a cure.

As you age, your cell turnover also slows, “resulting in a dull, dry uneven complexion,” Tuck says. But luckily, salicylic acid aids cell turnover. “[It] can help to refine, brighten and smooth the skin,” she says.

Plus, incorporating salicylic acid into a skin care routine for older skin can even help your other anti-aging products penetrate further. “Gently removing dead skin cell build up can aid the penetration of active ingredients such as peptides, vitamin C and retinoids that are particularly beneficial for aging skin,” says Tuck.

How do you incorporate salicylic acid into a routine for older skin?

Begoun advises that you don’t just pick a product for ‘older skin’ but decide on salicylic acid products that are formulated specifically for your skin type. “At any age you can have dry skin, oily skin, acne, redness, clogged pores, sun damage and so on…If you have oily skin you use a lightweight gel or fluid-textured product; if you have dry skin, you use a lotion or cream-textured product. If you have normal skin you can choose either based on your personal preference,” says Begoun. “When salicylic acid is well formulated to exfoliate (meaning no irritants like essential oils or menthol and with a pH between 3 and 4) the base it is in becomes secondary.”

However, Tuck warns it’s important not to overuse the ingredient (or any hydroxy acids), Tuck warns.”…the dose and frequency are dependent on the individual skin type. Over-exfoliating or peeling the skin can have detrimental effects so always follow professional advice and follow a strict homecare regime.”

beautyheaven loves: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ExfoliantJohn Plunkett Superfade Face CreamUltraceuticals Ultra Gentle Exfoliating GelClinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer and Synergie Skin ReVeal.

Do you use salicylic acid? What salicylic acid products have you tried?

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