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Has anyone heard of any studies showing how long salicylic acid needs to be in contact with your skin to exfoliate effectively? I am curious if face washes with salicylic acid are actually in contact with your skin long enough to have any effect? Thanks!

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Hi! I'm no expert, and have no links to actual studies, but from what I understand in my reading of posts in the forum as well as on other sites, SA needs about 20 minutes to do its thing. I believe it takes about 20mins for the skin to neutralize the acid. Face washes with it in there aren't going to do a thing because most are either:

1. not at the correct pH for it to be effective

2. Have very little SA to effective (many are a mere .5%) and effective concentrations start at around 1% (you can also get 2%, 4% and I have even seen 9% from Paula's Choice)

3. Are not on the skin long enough to be effective even if the above two criteria are met.

4. Have pore clogging ingredients that negate the use of the acid

Personally, I opt for a mild cleanser and then use a toner (Paula's Choice Clear 2%BHA regular strength) with SA in it.

Hope that helps!

Edited by callendula
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I agree that washes with salicylic are not in contact with your skin long enough to have any effect.

Toners or gels or creams with salicylic acid that stay on your skin are effective.

If you look at www.paulaschoice.com under that subject there is some useful information.

Good luck.

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