Can Teenagers Use Salicylic Acid? How To Use It Properly? 

Skincare has evolved with the addition of some great ingredients in recent years. Salicylic acid is not something to miss if you are a skincare enthusiast. The exfoliating and acne-fighting properties of this gem bring visible improvement while being gentle on the skin. Based on your skin type and issues, you can add salicylic acid to your routine to level up your skincare game.

Can Teenagers Use Salicylic Acid?

Teenage Girl  Using Salicylic Acid

Teenagers can include salicylic acid in their skincare routine after properly analyzing their skin type and receiving proper guidance. Salicylic acid is a mild exfoliant that helps unclog pores and rectify major skin issues. It is considered safe for teenage skin when used appropriately and in proper concentrations.

Why Is Salicylic Acid Good For Teenage Skin?

  • Effective for acne: Salicylic acid is highly effective on teenage acne, which is common during adolescence. It exfoliates and unclogs pores, which helps remove stubborn whiteheads, blackheads, and acne.
  • Mild exfoliant: It is a mild exfoliant compared to other commonly used skincare ingredients. It does not irritate teenage skin as it penetrates the pores and provides gentle exfoliation.
  • Minimal side effects: When used in the right concentration, the side effects of salicylic acid are mild. The temporary side effects could be managed properly with the right products.
  • Non-comedogenic: Salicylic acid is non-comedogenic in nature and does not clog pores, leading to future breakouts. It is designed specifically for sensitive, acne-prone skin, making it suitable for teenagers.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Teenage Pimples Naturally At Home?

How Does It Work?

  • Exfoliation: Salicylic acid exfoliates and promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, improving the texture of the skin. It unclogs pores and prevents future breakouts by effectively penetrating within the pores.
  • Oil control: It helps to regulate oil production as a result of hormonal changes, especially in teenagers.
  • Anti-inflammatory: With its anti-inflammatory properties, salicylic acid reduces the redness and irritation associated with acne.
  • Promotes cell turnover: Salicylic acid helps to remove dead skin cells and replace them with new, healthier ones.

How To Use It Properly?

  • Start with a lower concentration: Remember to start with a lower concentration and eventually increase the amount. This will help your skin get used to the product, which reduces the chances of irritation and breakouts.
  • Patch test: It is recommended to do a patch test before applying the product to the entire face. It will help to figure out whether you have any adverse reactions or allergies to the product. Wait for about 24–48 hours and make sure that it is safe for use.
  • Cleanse first: Use a gentle cleanser before applying salicylic acid, which allows the product to penetrate effectively, promoting better results. Cleansing removes dead skin cells and dirt and enhances the effect.
  • Apply once a day: Try to start by applying once a day, preferably in the evening. Once your skin gets used to the product, you can apply it as needed, ensuring efficacy.
  • Use sunscreen: It is important to apply sunscreen for desired results as salicylic acid increases the sensitivity of the skin. Sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays and reduces the risk of sunburn.
  • Moisturize: In some cases, salicylic acid can result in dry skin, which can be effectively rectified with proper moisturization. It helps to keep the skin hydrated, reducing dryness and improving skin texture.

Read More: Common Fungal Infections On The Skin – Types You Should Know

What Are The Side Effects?

  • Dryness: Flaky and dry skin are common side effects that result from the use of salicylic acid. Especially if used in higher concentrations, it can damage the skin barrier. It is important to moisturize properly to reduce the negative effects of the product.
  • Skin irritation: There are chances of skin irritation if salicylic acid is used frequently and at a higher concentration. Some individuals experience itching, redness, and a burning sensation while using the product. It is recommended to patch-test the product before applying it and adding it to your skincare routine.
  • Sun sensitivity: Salicylic acid increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, making it more susceptible to damage. Remember to apply sunscreen for effective protection that helps prevent sunburn and related issues.
  • Purging: This is the temporary phase where your skin may experience an increase in breakouts while it gets accustomed to the product. It could be a sign that the product is actually working and that it lasts for a few weeks.


Salicylic acid is highly effective on teenage skin if used properly and in the right concentrations. Including it in your skincare routine will address common skin care concerns and promote glowing, clearer skin.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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