Salicylic acid is an effective pore-clearing ingredient that's well-tolerated by most skin types, which is why it's often recommended by dermatologists as a first-line treatment for acne. Naturally, it's great for keeping your skin clear of blackheads, too — but some products do the job better than others. So how to make sure you're using one of the best salicylic acid products for blackheads? Stick with any of the options featured here; they all contain mild concentrations of salicylic acid, so they won't totally dry out your skin, and they come in lots of different forms — serums, pads, toners, creams — so you can easily find one that works well with your existing skin care routine.
A couple notes on using salicylic acid safely. Incorproate it into your routine gradually — start by using your new salicylic acid product once or twice a week to see how your skin reacts, then as it adjusts, you can begin to use it more frequently. Also, don't combine retinoids with salicylic acid products, as that can really mess with your skin. You can either avoid retinoids completely or use your salicylic acid product during the day and your retinoid at night.
With that in mind, scroll on to shop seven of the best products with salicylic acid, all for less than $50 on Amazon.
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1. Best Face Wash
If you prefer to get your salicylic acid in face wash form, go with this Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel. Key ingredients include acne-fighting salicylic acid, oil-absorbing, skin-resurfacing copper and zinc, and Vichy's skin-strengthening volcanic water. Even better is what it doesn't include: namely, sulfates, oil, alcohol, and soap, so it's a safe choice for just about any skin type, whether acne-prone or sensitive.
2. Best Toner
Toners aren't for everyone, but if you are a toner person, La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Clarifying Solution offers another great way to get your daily dose of salicylic acid. In this fragrance-free formula, salicylic and glycolic acids work together to promote smoother, clearer skin and stave off blackheads and breakouts; meanwhile, the brand's signature thermal spring water helps balance out the potentially drying effects of the acids.
Over 1,000 Amazon reviewers left it a five-star rating after purchasing it; comments include "Best toner I've ever used," "Will continue to buy for all of eternity," and "toner magic."
3. Best Liquid Exfoliant
One of the most popular salicylic acid products out there period, Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a modern skin care classic. Think of this liquid exfoliant as a toner-meet-serum; use it after cleansing (you won't need to use this and a toner) and before moisturizing. The formula is short and simple, with the two key ingredients being salicylic acid and green tea. With consistent use, expect clear, even-looking skin that's super soft and smooth, as well as clean, blackhead-free pores. Over 10,000 Amazon shoppers left this "miracle in a bottle" a five-star rating, while over 1,500 went out of their way to write a glowing review. See what all the hype is about for yourself!
4. Best Exfoliating Pads
Pads are a convenient, mess-free way to exfoliate your skin, and they're also super travel-friendly. If you love all things in pad form, go with these classic Aveeno cleansing pads. You're getting a chemical exfoliant in here with the salicylic acid, but since the pads are textured on one side, you'll benefit from some mild physical exfoliation as well. The formula is alcohol-free and you get 28 pads per jar, which costs under $7 on Amazon.
5. Best Serum
Another vehicle for getting your salicylic acid to consider: serum. And this one, which is from Vichy's Vinopure line, is one of the best affordable serums out there. It contains two exfoliating acids to keep your pores clear and skin smooth — salicylic and glycolic acids — as well as soothing rosewater and grapeseed-derived antioxidants.
One Amazon reviewer, who described it as the "best acne/blemish serum [they've ever used," wrote, "This is silky thin, absorbs right into your skin, will literally push out debris from your face because [salicylic] acid is small in molecular makeup." Just note that this does contain essential oils and a light fragrance, in case you have a known sensitivity to either of those things.
6. Best Moisturizer
Get your salicylic acid, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide at the same time with this lightweight moisturizer from InstaNatural. (Other good-for-skin ingredients like aloe juice, centella asiatica, tea tree, and licorice root extract can be found in here as well.) It's a particularly great choice for people with acne-prone skin and/or hyperpigmentation. Bonus points for its hygienic pump-top bottle.
7. Best Spot Treatment
If you're looking to target blackheads or blemishes in certain areas, rather than all over your face, pick up this spot treatment from First Aid Beauty. The gentle-but-powerful formula contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and soothing aloe, plus the extracts of papaya, licorice, willow bark, and white tea. Though it'll help with blackheads, it's even more handy for clearing up whiteheads — always a good product to have on hand.