All About Acne Part 1 Salicylic Acid



Operation: Banish Blackheads

Blackheads are an accumulation of oil and oxidized dead skin cells, which is why they appear black in color. They form in hair follicles where sebum and dead skin collect.

Whiteheads are similar clogs, but the oil and dead skin cells do not touch the air, so they appear white. Along with pimples, blackheads and whiteheads are the typical symptoms of acne.

As Dr. Zein Obagi says, “The first line of defense against blackheads is to use a good exfoliating cleanser. This will loosen debris, bringing it to the surface where it can be washed away.” Exfoliating will also help to purge pores and keep them clean to prevent more blackheads from forming. ZO® EXFOLIATING CLEANSER is formulated for daily use and in addition to removing impurities, sebum, and dead skin cells, it neutralizes free radicals with encapsulated vitamin E.

Salicylic acid. On the skin, salicylic acid helps to correct the abnormal shedding of cells.

It works best against comedonal acne, non-inflamed breakouts, and blackheads. 

It encourages the shedding of dead skin cells from within the follicle, helping keep the pores clear.

We recommend: ZO Complexion Renewal pads or Oil Control pads 1-2 times per day and Dual Action Scrub three times per week. Hydrafacial once per month. Keep in mind that Salicylic acid does not make your pores smaller. It will also not continue to work if you stop using it.


For The Scientifically Minded: CREDIT:

1.β-hydroxy acids. Salicylic acid, the onlyβ-hydroxy acid… is lipophilic, and is a very common active ingredient in a plethora of OTC acne cleansers, astringents, and lotions. Due to its desmolytic properties, salicylic acid promotes individual corneocyte desquamation, thus simulating natural exfoliation, and exerts moderate comedolytic activity. The desmolytic and comedolytic properties of salicylic acid are concentration-dependent. In fact, salicylic acid is not keratolytic. Rather, it exerts its effect on SC desquamation by breaking the bonds created by corneodesmosomes, also called the “rivets” or “staples” of the SC, which sustain the adherence between contiguous corneocytes.23 As a result, mild visible peeling may be noted, and some salicylic acid-containing vehicles may promote cutaneous irritation, while others (i.e., multivesicular emulsion, emollient foam) are associated with little-to-no skin tolerability reactions.

Vocabulary for fun! CREDIT:

1.Emulsion: Cream, Thicker than a lotion, maintaining its shape, for example a 50/50 emulsion of oil and water. Requires preservative to extend shelf life. Often moisturising.

2.Vesicle: Vesicles are small blisters less than 5 mm in diameter.

3.Corneocytes: The skin barrier serves to protect the body and prevent water loss. It is formed by the outermost layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, containing the protein keratin and corneocytes (dead skin cells) held together by a lipid intercellular matrix.

4.Desquamation: shedding of the outer layers of the skin

Reported by Michelle Marsala MD