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If you have acne prone skin, you may be wondering whether you can use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide together. Both of these ingredients can be very helpful in keeping your pores clear and preventing acne breakouts, so it sounds logical that if they are used together they can do even more good. Can you mix benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid? Let’s explore this question and learn more about these two powerful substances.
What is salicylic acid?
Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA). BHAs are an oil-soluble exfoliant, which makes them an excellent skincare product for individuals with acne. They are able to penetrate deep into the pores to clear out oil, dead cells, and debris. With clear pores, individuals are less likely to have to deal with acne breakouts or blackheads.
Using salicylic acid can offer a number of benefits for the skin. These include:
- Soothing inflammation
- Cleansing the pores
- Removing blackheads
- Clearing acne breakout
- Reducing the appearance/size of pores
If you want to continue to enjoy these benefits of salicylic acid, it is important to continue using it regularly. Otherwise, your skin and pores are likely to return to how they previously were.
What is benzoyl peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide is another highly effective ingredient for treating acne. If you look at the ingredient list on creams or cleansers for acne, you’re likely to see benzoyl peroxide listed.
Benzoyl peroxide works differently than salicylic acid. It helps to bring oxygen into your pores. Because bacteria grows best in areas without oxygen, delivering oxygen helps prevent the bacteria from continuing to grow.
While benzoyl peroxide can be quite effective at treating acne, you don’t want to overuse it. It is important to allow the healthy bacteria to balance out in your pores to help keep your skin healthy.
Here’s a video that compares salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide:
Can you mix salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide?
Using benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid in your skincare routine offers a variety of benefits, which we’ll go into in the next section. Seeing all of these benefits makes some ask, “can you mix benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid for acne?”
You can technically mix benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid together, but it isn’t the best idea. Using the two ingredients together at the same time can make it more likely for your skin to peel or to become overly dry or red.
Another common question is “can I use salicylic acid before benzoyl peroxide?” Using one product in the morning, followed by the other in the evening, is actually the method preferred by most skincare experts. Others recommend using the two ingredients on alternating days.
Spacing out your use of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will allow you to maximize their acne-fighting benefits, while still minimizing any negative effects on your skin.
One possible combination to try is starting your day with a salicylic acid cleanser and ending with a benzoyl peroxide treatment gel. You could also consider trying a benzoyl peroxide acne bar in the shower in the morning and a salicylic acid night cream in the evening.
What are the benefits of using benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid together?
Now that we’ve discussed the answer to “can I use benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid at the same time,” let’s explore some of the benefits of incorporating both of these ingredients into your skincare routine. While in most cases you don’t want to mix the two ingredients, they could both play a very important role in helping keep your skin clear of acne breakouts.
As we shared above, salicylic acid is excellent at helping keep your pores clear. As an oil-based exfoliant, it works to remove excess sebum, oil, dirt, and debris from your pores and can help decrease their size.
Benzoyl peroxide vs salicylic acid, on the other hand, plays a different, but also very important role. It helps add oxygen to your pores and works as an antimicrobial to prevent bacteria from being able to grow.
When you use both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide in your skincare routine, you’re able to enjoy all of these benefits. Just remember, that they are best when used at different times during the day or on alternating days. If you really want to use them both around the same time, you’ll want to give your skin at least a 5-minute break between products to try to minimize dryness and irritation.
What are the risks of using benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid together?
As we mentioned, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid both play an important role in protecting your skin from acne breakouts. Using both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide together doesn’t come without some risks, however.
When you use benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid together, it can lead to redness, irritation, or dryness. This is why it is advised to use them at different times of the day or on alternating days. If you have very severe acne, it is possible that your doctor may recommend using them together, but generally it is not advised.
If you have to choose just one, benzoyl peroxide is often seen as the best choice for treating cystic acne. This is because it works as an antimicrobial to prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
Yes, you can use salicylic acid in the morning and benzoyl peroxide at night.
Mixing Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are both effective for treating acne. Using them together can help you clear up acne breakout and keep your skin clear. For best results, many physicians recommend using one of these ingredients in the morning and the other in the evening to minimize redness, peeling, and dry skin.