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help me pick a salicylic acid

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I've got big, clogged pores. I already use Dan's BP, and although I've heard that BP can help clear pores, I haven't seen much of a difference over the years. I've decided I want to give some gentle exfoliation a try, and I want to start experimenting with salicylic acid. The problem is, I'm completely confused by the options available.

The most common form of salicylic acid (SA) I see available is as a cleanser. The thing is, I've gotten used to using BP as a lotion, and applying it to the entire acne-prone area of my face as part of a routine, rather than just using it as an occasional spot treatment. Seeing BP as an ingredient in cleansers always seemed weird to me ... what's the point of putting on a little watered-down BP and then washing it off 10 seconds later? Aren't you supposed to leave it on to sink in? That's my concern about all these SA washes. Is SA in a cleanser nearly as effective as, say, SA in a pad (Oxy, Stridex, etc), or as a lotion? Does it really do any exfoliation at all when it's in a cleanser? Shouldn't you buy SA as its own thing, apply it to the face, and leave it on?

Aside from the pads, the only other form of SA I saw in the drugstore was a spot treatment in a tiny, expensive bottle. I figured I wouldn't buy that to apply to my whole face. I've heard of peels, too (didn't see them), but how are those different from straight SA?

Anyway, I stared at the skin care aisle of my drugstore yesterday for about 15 mins before I finally walked out with Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash, which uses SA. I didn't know WTF else to get, but I wanted to try something already.

Totally confused. Help a dude out with some tips? What should I really be doing? Is the cleanser really a good way to go to help fight crappy skin cell shedding, keratinization, etc?


I've heard you're not supposed to use SA with other active treatments. I figured I'd do BP in the morning and SA at night, but the Neutrogena bottle says to use twice a day. Is it safe to use an SA cleanser and then put on BP 15 mins later, or should I avoid that? Or is the effect of the cleanser mild enough that it doesn't matter, and the only real threat comes from whatever stronger SA treatments are out there?

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Bump. So I've been using the Oil-Free Acne Wash (followed by moisturizer) for a few days now, once in the morning and once at night, and I think my skin is starting to look a little smoother (fewer comedones, less skin buildup). But, and maybe I'm just imagining this, it looks WAY greasier. WTF. Is my skin overcompensating for the lost oil or something?

Maybe I'll switch over to doing BP in the morning and Oil-Free Acne Wash at night.

Also, should I have posted this in the OTC forum?

Edited by baloo
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I used SA oil-free acne wash before BP cream, back when I was still using BP again. HORRIBLE IDEA. I won't touch BP again. And the combonation of the two, jesus christ. I've never had skin so dry that the skin on my NOSE looked like crinkled paper, there were literally fine lines running vertically down it my skin was so dry. The peeling was awful and did not stop.

I recommend ScarZone A Acne free cream (they call it gel, whatever). It's the most effective SA cream I've used thus far, and amazing enough, it doesn't irritate or dry my skin, my skin feels hydrated when I wash it off in the morning. It does take forever to absorb into the skin though, and even then you will still feel a layer sitting ontop your skin, but I would really try it (It's about $5 for a 0.5oz bottle where I'm at).

Sometimes I use a toner containing 2% SA in it, not everyday though because the alcohol in it is too drying.

Hope this wasn't too long for you.

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