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You can choose to clear up your skin with a salicylic acid serum, a salicylic acid toner, or even a salicylic acid cleanser. But they barely give you the satisfaction of wiping salicylic acid pads all over your face. It almost feels like you’re sweeping off acne, sizzle-popping blackheads, and just pop-opening clogged pores. Salicylic acid peel pads are usually gentler than liquid peels. But they’re no less effective!
Salicylic acid and oily skin are a match made in heaven. And it’s all thanks to this beta-hydroxy acid’s (BHA) fat-soluble nature. Salicylic acid can penetrate the skin and dissolve the dirt and oil inside the pores. That’s how it exfoliates and unclogs pores.
Not to mention, salicylic acid is anti-inflammatory. And that’s how it prevents acne and helps with inflammatory redness. Plus, it’s also anti-bacterial, which makes it equally effective in reducing and preventing acne.
Last but not least, salicylic acid is also a great ingredient to use on oily and aging skin. After all, hydroxy acids help speed up skin turnover.
Either way, below are the best salicylic acid pads to help you deal with acne, blackheads, congestion, and enlarged pores.
The Best Salicylic Acid Pads
These pads are anti-acne combined with anti-oil. The unique formulation contains clay, which we know from our face masks whenever we like to get rid of excess oil and get a matte complexion. 2% salicylic acid and a blend of natural anti-inflammatories help clear out the skin from blemishes and blackheads while preventing future breakouts.
Key Ingredients: 2% salicylic acid, clay
Key Benefits: Minimizes excess oil, clears up pores
Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free
If budget is a concern, these are the most affordable salicylic acid pads that deliver! They have naturally derived salicylic and glycolic acids to detoxify the skin, eliminate congestion, and reduce inflammation. The concentration of the acid is not clear. But the pads are gentle enough to use twice daily on oily skin.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid
Key Benefits: Unclogs pores, brightens
Skin Type: Combination, oily
Good To Know: Alcohol-free, vegan
These pads are super gentle and beginner-friendly. They contain 0.5% salicylic acid, which is ideal if you’re just starting to incorporate acids into your routine. Besides salicylic acid, the pads are also soaked in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic and mandelic for a thorough exfoliation to improve skin tone and texture.
Key Ingredients: 0.5% salicylic acid, glycolic acid
Key Benefits: Minimizes acne, softens the appearance of pores
Skin Type: All
This one takes multi-acid exfoliation to a whole new level! It’s brimming with all the acids on god’s green earth. It has salicylic acid from the BHA family, glycolic acid from the AHA family, and gluconolactone from the PHA family. Moreover, it has azelaic acid and tranexamic acid to tackle post-acne discolorations and hyperpigmentation. The pads are incredibly helpful in cleaning out pores and getting rid of acne. But they’re also great for brightening up your complexion and evening out your skin tone. They’re the perfect glow-boosting exfoliation pads.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, gluconolactone
Key Benefits: Encourages skin turnover, fades hyperpigmentation and acne scars
Skin Type: All
Good To Know: Vegan
And speaking of multi-acids, this is another one. The more the merrier! Salicylic acid infiltrates the pores and dissolves trapped gunk. Glycolic acid exfoliates the top layer of your skin to get rid of flakiness and dullness. And gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid, gently resurfaces the skin while plumping it up to give you a smoother and softer texture. The pads also contain niacinamide to maximize results and minimize irritation.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide
Key Benefits: Smooths skin texture, brightens
Skin Type: All
Good To Know: Fragrance-free
When you’re wiping your way into clear skin, you might as well scrape off the dullness. These pads are great for improving the look of enlarged pores and reviving dull and tired-looking skin. They help clear up stubborn blackheads with the help of 2% salicylic acid. Even if you can’t completely get rid of pores, you certainly can improve their appearance. The pads contain anti-inflammatory witch hazel and anti-bacterial tea tree leaf oil. Plus, they’re super budget-friendly!
Key Ingredients: 2% salicylic acid, witch hazel
Key Benefits: Treats and prevents acne, minimizes pores
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily
Good To Know: Alcohol-free, cruelty-free, fragrance-free
These also contain witch hazel in addition to anti-inflammatory tea tree oil and skin-soothing aloe and cucumber. The combination of AHAs and BHAs keeps the skin free from acne, and congestion and makes it look radiant at all times.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid
Key Benefits: Minimizes pores, clears up skin, calms inflammation
Skin Type: Normal, oily, combination, blemish-prone
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, cruelty-free
These pads are perfect for those of you who don’t enjoy the tingling sensation. They’re gentle on the skin. Because instead of salicylic acid, they contain betaine salicylate, a gentler alternative, as well as willow bark water. You get the exfoliation minus the potential irritation. This makes these pads suitable for all skin types that are dealing with occasional breakouts.
Key Ingredients: Willow bark water, tea tree leaf oil
Key Benefits: Calms and prevents acne
Skin Type: All
Good To Know: Alcohol-free, cruelty-free
Instead of the mainstream alpha hydroxy acid, these pads are made with lactic and naturally-derived salicylic acid. This way, you get lactic acid‘s additional benefits like increasing hydration and plumping up the skin. Additional benefits include witch hazel and papaya extract, which is a natural exfoliant. These pads are great for gently resurfacing the skin, reducing breakouts, and smoothing out textured skin.
Key Ingredients: Willow bark extract, lactic acid, enzymes
Key Benefits: Gently exfoliates without visible peeling
Skin Type: All
Good To Know: Vegan
These pads are soaked in acid soup! Salicylic, glycolic, and lactic; a great blend to simply remove dead skin, clear up the complexion from pimples and blackheads, and fade scarring and hyperpigmentation. The pads contain L-carnitine, which reduces oil production and as a result, prevents congestion. Plus, azelaic acid helps with acne marks as well as sunspots.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, azelaic acid
Key Benefits: Reduces acne, decongests skin, brightens
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily, acne-prone
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free
So these are some of the best salicylic acid pads. If you’re dealing with acne, congestion, and pores, salicylic acid pads conveniently come to the rescue.
How to Use Salicylic Acid Pads
There are things to keep in mind before you start wiping your face with these acid-soaked pads.
- First of all, don’t use an exfoliating toner if you’re using exfoliating pads. A salicylic acid pad is a replacement for a salicylic acid toner or a serum.
- Combining different hydroxy products in the same routine doesn’t double the effects, it just doubles irritation.
- If you’re just starting out, try using your salicylic acid pad 3 times a week until your skin gets used to it. After a while, you can take it up to 2 times a day once your skin can tolerate it.
- A little burning and tingling are perfectly normal after each application. But if your skin gets too irritated and red, reduce the frequency.
- You should use your pads after you clean your face and when it’s dry. Give it a couple of minutes and then apply your serums and creams. Don’t rinse off your face after you use the pads unless the instructions say so!
- If you don’t want to regularly use these pads, you can always use them as spot treatments on pimples whenever you’re breaking out.
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids make the skin prone to sunburn. Always wear sunscreen to protect your new and healthy skin cells.
- You can’t use salicylic acid if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. I’m sorry but you’re just going to have to choose between good skin and procreation.
- Also, you can’t use salicylic acid if you have an aspirin allergy.
- And finally, a jar of salicylic acid pads is a great investment. It can be pricey. So whatever you do, do not forget to put the lid back on! The pads will dry out and you might even cry a bit.