Salicylic acid is lipid soluble hydroxy acid that can penetrate in into the clogged pores and dislodge the dead skin cells. Therefore, salicylic acid help in reducing open pores, blackheads, whiteheads and open pores, when used for atleast 3 months.


What are the side effects of salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid usually does not cause side effects, however, here are few watchouts:

  • Increase in acne: Initial purging might occur in acne prone skin: Salicylic acid unclogs your pores, that might lead to black/whiteheads and even red pimples. This might take a month to settle.
  • Skin might become dry and flaky: Salicylic acid helps in controlling your oil secretions, which is desirable in oily skin. However, over prolong use or in dry weather, it might lead to dryness and flaking. It is advisable to put a light weight moisturizer before putting salicylic acid. If this does not help stop using salicylic acid for a week or two. Re-introduce once your skin feels better.
  • Irritation/ redness: If you develop noticeable redness, irritation, burning or itching on first few applications of salicylic acid, then it is advisable to not use salicylic caid on your skin again. However, if you develop reaction after repeated application, then discontinue for a week or two and re-introduce gradually, beginning from twice a week. If reaction re-occurs, then stop it altogether.
  • Cautious use in pregnancy and lactation: Salicylic acid should not be used on large surface area of skin during pregnancy or lactation. You should not use salicylic caid in area, where your baby can suck you like breast area, shoulders or even face.

How to use salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is available in soaps, toners, face pack, face wash, soap, cream, lotion or serum. Of these, salicylic acid 2 % in gel, serum or lotion is the best choice. There is no use of combining salicylic acid gel with salicylic acid toner or face wash because it might be too harsh for your skin.

Salicylic acid should be used preferably at night, though it can be used during day as well if you are not going out in sun. If notice increase in acne, irritation, or dryness, then stop it.

Which is the best salicylic acid serum in India?

Most salicylic serum in India are similar with only few differences, so better is to stick to a reputed brand. Most of them are Fragrance-free, Silicones-free, Sulfate-free and Parabens-free. I have listed top brands of salicylic caid serum in India with their pros and cons, if any.

Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Serum

It is Aloe vera gel-based serum with 2 % Salicylic acid. You can buy it on

The Derma Co 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum 

This serum has witch hazel and willow bark extracts along with salicylic 2%. Both these help in controlling cane tendency. It is water based product with hydrating agents, that can keep your skin soft and supple. You can buy this product online @

Azani Active Care Acne Clarifying Serum

In addition to salicylic acid 2 % , Azni active acne serum has glycolic acid 1% and Licorice extracts that help in skin lightening. Therefore, Azani Active Care Acne Clarifying Serum is recommended for those who have dark spots along with acne. Check prize @

Luxura Sciences Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum

Luxura Sciences Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum is aloe vera based serum which following active ingredients in addition to 2 % salicylic acid:

  • Niacnimade niacinamide helps in reducing dark spots
  • Cinnamonium, Eugenia Flower Oil, tea tree oil helps in reducing acne tendency
  • Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate,  aloe Vera nicotinamide helps in soothing and hydrating your skin.

The only thing we don’t like about this serum is use of preservative like DMDM, Hydantion.

Available online @

Mamaearth Tea Tree Face Serum for Acne Prone 

Mama earth tea tree face serum has 2% salicylic has said along with Licorice Extract, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Tea Tree Oil. It is water based serum with hydrating agents that can keep your skin soft and supple. The liquorice extract helps in skin lightning and tea tree oil helps in reducing acne tendency you can buy this serum on Amazon or in major departmental stores.

StBotanica Bha Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum 

StBotanica Bha Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum is water based serum infused with hydrating and soothing agent like hyaluronic acid, allantoin, glycerin, arginine to keep your skin soft while salicylic caid exfoliates your skin. It is also enriched with watermelon, strawberry and willow bark extract that act as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne agents respectively. The opaque air tight bottle packing of this serum ensures that your product is not exposed to sun or air. It is available online at

Paula’s Choice-SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfolian

Paula’s Choice-SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfolian is water based serum infused with hydrating agents like Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol. In addition to 2% salicylic acid, it has green tea extract that act as anti-oxidants. This serum is heavy on pocket, but comes with reputation of a brand that is popular in US. It is now available on

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