Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide? Which One Works Better?

benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid pictureYou already know that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide both work to fight acne, but which one works better? And will one work better for a certain skin type than the other?

While their chemical compositions are very different, the main differences you will notice is that one is gentle, while the other is extremely harsh (I bet you already know which one is which, dont you? )

In this article I will compare the two ingredients head-to-head so you can make an educated decision on which product will work best for you.

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Salicylic Acid Vs Benzoyl Peroxide

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picture of salicylic acid compoundSalicylic Acid:

The Pros

  • Works as a long-term acne solution
  • Is gentle on your skin, does not burn and does not cause irritation or dryness
  • Is a natural chemical found in plants that works with the body to stabilize and rebalance the imbalances that cause acne

The Cons

  • Can make some people break-out at first; but this goes away within the first 1-2 weeks. The reason for an initial break-out is usually because the acne sufferer switched to salicylic acid directly after using a benzoyl peroxide product, which is stressful process for the skin because of the damage that benzoyl peroxide causes. If you have tried SA and it has not worked for you, chances are you didn’t use the product long enough to get through the initial break-out and rebalance of your skin! If you had, you might not be suffering with acne by now : /

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picture of benzoyl peroxide compoundBenzoyl Peroxide:

The Pros

  • Usually works fairly quickly, reducing acne blemishes within the first 1-2 weeks. This is the main (and only?) reason that benzoyl peroxide is used as a popular acne treatment.

The Cons

  • Incredibly harsh chemical that overdries your skin and causes redness, irritation, and flakes. Your face will literally burn, this is especially true if you don’t invest in a good moisturizer and remember to use it daily.
  • Will bleach your clothing/pillow case if used before bed (why would you put something on your face that bleaches clothing??)
  • Puts your skins natural oils out of balance, causing your body to actually produce MORE acne-causing bacteria, not less
  • Is an unnatural chemical that works against your body rather than for it.
  • Does not work long term. It usually only takes the body about a month or so (the longest is probably 6-months) to adapt to the benzoyl peroxide and begin compensating for the dryness by producing up to 10X as much oil as normal. With all the BP containing acne products available on the market, I find it strange that there is currently no scientific evidence to back up the claim that benzoyl peroxide works as a long-term acne solution.

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salicylic acid vs benzoyl peroxide pictureOne point to always keep in mind: Never, ever, use a product containing both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. I know you are suffering with bad acne. I know that it seems like slathering two acne-fighting chemicals would fight your acne faster than using just one. But its not true. The worst thing you can do for your skin is use both SA and BP. This is why I heavily advise against the popular acne product Exposed, as it uses both of these acne -fighting chemicals.

The consequence of using both SA and BP at the same time is this: extremely irritated skin, complete bodily imbalance of both acne-causing bacteria AND healthy oils, and the very worst – acne cysts. This is when you get the big, red, super sore bumps beneath the skin that eventually break through and look hideous. These are the zits that used to make me cry when I got them : (

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Recommended Products:

Need to find a good quality, effective acne product that uses salicylic acid as its active ingredient? Look no further, here are the top 3:

  1. ClearPores Complete Acne System. This system uses 2% salicylic acid, and fights acne from multiple angles by using a cleanser, a repairing lotion, AND an oral supplement for treating acne from the inside. This is by far the best and most complete acne system out there, and its the most affordable of its kind. If you’re not interested in the complete system and want to save money by just getting the cleanser, that is available as well (however I highly recommend the entire system!)
  2. DermaCleanse ZenMed Acne System. ZenMed is very similar to ClearPores, using 2% salicylic acid as well, and also comes complete with the repairing lotion, moisturizer, and oral supplement. The ZenMed system is more customizable, as there are different products designed for slightly different skin types (sensitive skin, basic, and severe). It is also more expensive.
  3. MedSkin Acne System. The MedSkin Acne System is a little more basic than the other two, but the product uses salicylic acid along with a highly effective scientific formula in order to treat acne and heal the skin.

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Need to know what kind of acne you’re suffering from? Take the free acne test to find out. Want to clear your acne for good? Create your individualized acne treatment program here.


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