Looking For An Inexpensive Way To Treat Blackheads? Try Salicylic Acid!

Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 03, 2022

    Looking For An Inexpensive Way To Treat Blackheads? Try Salicylic Acid!

    If you’ve been having problems with blackheads on your face, you probably have used multiple products already. Perhaps, you’ve used blackhead removal masks, cleansers with certain ingredients or medicated soaps. If they haven’t worked as well as you had wanted them to, maybe you can consider salicylic acid for blackheads. Here’s what you need to know about this inexpensive remedy.

    What Salicylic Acid?

    Salicylic acid is a class of topical treatment for various skin conditions, such as acne (including blackheads), psoriasis, dandruff, dermatitis, common warts, and calluses. It comes in many forms, including solution, gel, cream, lotion, and shampoos.

    Salicylic acid is under the class of medications called keratolytic agents. They work by breaking down the top layer of the skin, which means it’s a good exfoliating agent. On top of that, salicylic acid also helps unclog pores. This is very helpful for people with blackheads since the problem starts with pores filled with debris, such as excess oil, bacteria, and dirt.

    Do Dermatologists Recommend Salicylic Acid For Blackheads?

    Do dermatologists recommend salicylic acid for blackheads? It depends on how severe your blackheads are and how well they think you’ll tolerate salicylic acid.

    Before using salicylic acid, please consider consulting a dermatologist first. Sure, many forms of salicylic acid come in over-the-counter products, but choosing the one that contains the right dosage can be challenging. You see, salicylic acids come in different concentrations. Using too little might not get you the results you want, and using too much might burn your skin.

    Salicylic Acid For Acne: How To Use It

    In case you decide to use salicylic acid for blackheads, please keep the following tips in mind:

    1. Start with low dose first

    Pure salicylic acid which you can buy in bottles in local pharmacies come in various concentrations. Since they are over-the-counter products, their ranges are only at 0.5% to 2%.

    Consider starting with a low dose first, especially if you only have mild blackheads.

    2. Follow the package instructions

    If you decide to use salicylic acid for blackheads, please follow the package instructions down to a T. They will tell you how much product you need to use, how long it needs to stay on the skin, or whether you need to rinse it right away.

    Not following the instructions may not give you the results you want. Worse, it can irritate your skin and trigger other problems.


    Make sure to avoid sensitive areas, such as the skin around the eyes and lips. Immediately rinse if salicylic acid makes contact in those areas.

    3. Expect some side effects

    Salicylic acid for blackheads may result in stinging or burning sensation. It may also lead to skin peeling and dryness.

    If you can no longer tolerate the side effects, please discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

    4. Do not “give up” after just a few days of using it

    Are you using salicylic acid for blackheads or acne? Please remember that it might take weeks before you see desired results.

    Also, in the first few days, your condition may worsen as the skin adjusts to the treatment.

    5. Consider skincare products containing salicylic acid

    Lastly, if you don’t want to apply salicylic acid solution, remember that numerous skincare products have it as an ingredient.

    You can use cleansers or moisturizers that contain salicylic acid for blackheads. Instead of solutions, you can also think about gels, creams, cotton pads, and lotions.

    Alternatives To Salicylic Acid

    If you don’t feel like using salicylic acid for blackheads, there are other ingredients that might appeal to you.

    Benzoyl peroxide and retinoids are some of the other products to try. Likewise, you can talk to your dermatologist about other acids like AHA and BHA.

    To be absolutely sure of the product you’re using, please consult a dermatologist.

    Learn more about Acne here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 03, 2022


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