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For almost any type of skin care product, a similar formula containing salicylic acid exists. Salicylic acid is normally A-OK for African-American skin, but how safe it is for you personally depends on how your skin tolerates and reacts to the specific product. Facial cleansers, chemical peels and exfoliants are common products containing salicylic acid, and are generally safe for your gorgeous African-American skin if tolerated and used sparingly.
Salicylic acid, a plant-based acid, is also known as a beta hydroxy acid and is used in many products as an acne treatment. Many researchers refer to this acid as "vitamin S," because of its ability to reduce breakouts and treat other skin disorders, such as dandruff, when applied topically. Most skin care products containing this acid are marketed for acne-prone skin because this seems to be its most beneficial use.
Besides treating and preventing acne, salicylic acid lightens pigmentation abnormalities such as freckles and sun spots on African-American skin. These abnormalities are skin pigments clustered together on the top skin layer to cause spots visibly darker than your normal skin tone. People with African-American skin types also show improvements in the signs of aging, such as fine lines, when they use salicylic acid in chemical peels. Keep in mind that these are probable benefits and not guaranteed improvements.
Many skin care products contain 20 percent to 30 percent salicylic acid. With this acid, a small amount packs a powerful punch. Anything stronger and the only benefit you'll receive is a few days off from work or school to nurse your damaged skin back to health. Face cleansers use salicylic acids to clean out your pores and kill bacteria, which is the most common cause of breakouts. Exfoliant products remove dry, dead skin, and unclog pores, as well as treat and prevent breakouts. Salicylic acid peels combine all of the benefits of salicylic acid plus reducing fine lines, minimizing pores and reducing pigmentation problems to smooth and even out your gorgeous complexion.
Just because a product is considered safe and effective does not mean it is perfectly harmless. Salicylic acid, after all, is still an acid. Too much or too frequent use inflames the skin, leaving it sore and irritated. Try using a salicylic acid product once a week, letting your delicate facial skin get used to it. Slowly increase your use, but only if necessary. Follow your skin's lead; it will let you know when enough is enough. Using salicylic acid products for extended periods of time may significantly lighten African-American skin. To avoid this, limit your use to once or twice a week and reduce facial peels to two or three times a year.