Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Can you use salicylic acid with benzoyl peroxide?

Can you use salicylic acid with benzoyl peroxide?

No, you should not use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide at the same time due to the risk of irritation.

If you want to use both active ingredients in your skincare routine, you should use them at different times of day.

For example, you could use a leave-on salicylic acid serum during the day but cleanse your face with PanOxyl at night.

Alternatively, you could try a product that combines both ingredients together in a stable formula like La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo.

If you really want to use them together, it makes the most sense to use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser and follow up with a salicylic acid serum.

This article will explain everything you need to know about salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and how to use them together.

What is salicylic acid?

Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2%

Salicylic acid is an exfoliating acid and popular active ingredient commonly found in skincare products.

Also known as a beta hydroxy acid, topical salicylic acid exfoliates dead skin cells and can help control excess oil. It’s a great treatment for acne prone skin.

Generally, salicylic acid is better suited for people with sensitive skin than other acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide.

When comparing salicylic acid and glycolic acid, it’s generally considered to be more gentle.

Further, mandelic acid is less effective than salicylic acid but may be more suitable for people with very sensitive skin.

What is benzoyl peroxide?

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is one of the best affordable ingredients for treating acne.

Ideal for oily skin types, benzoyl peroxide works by killing off acne causing bacteria.

In fact, I found that benzoyl peroxide worked just as well for fighting inflammatory acne as prescription acne medications.

It is generally considered to be a stronger acne treatment than salicylic acid and might not be suitable for people with sensitive skin.

You can add benzoyl peroxide into your skincare routine in the form a cleanser or a leave-on gel.

Benzoyl Peroxide vs Salicylic Acid

In comparing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, the biggest difference is in how the treatments work.

Benzoyl peroxide works by killing off acne causing bacteria.

On the other hand, salicylic acid works by dissolving dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat that clog pores and contribute to breakouts.

Both ingredients are effective at treating acne, but benzoyl peroxide is generally considered stronger and less suitable for people with sensitive skin.

Can I use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide together?

Naturium Salicylic Acid Body Spray 2%

No, you should not layer salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide together.

On their own, both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are strong active ingredients that can be used to treat acne.

However, layering them together cause skin dryness and disrupt your natural moisture barrier.

To use them together, consider alternating nights by using a salicylic acid product in the morning and a benzoyl peroxide product at night.

How can I use benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid?

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

The best way to incorporate these active ingredients into your acne skincare routine would be in the form of a cleanser or serum.

For example, CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is a great salicylic acid based cleanser that you can use to treat acne breakouts.

Further, some of the most popular benzoyl peroxide products are the PanOxyl 4% or 10% cleansers.

Can I use benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid?

PanOxyl 10% benzoyl peroxide and box with BowTiedFawn branding

Yes, you can use both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide with hyaluronic acid.

In fact, it’s better if you do!

Hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid can help protect your skin from the dryness often caused by strong topical treatments like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Further, you should always use moisturizer after benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products.

Summary: can you use benzoyl peroxide with salicylic acid?

Naturium The Perfector Salicylic Acid Body Wash

No, you should avoid layering benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid on top of each other.

Even though both are great active ingredients for treating acne, they can also cause side effects like:

  • Dryness

  • Redness

  • Irritation

Therefore, if you want to incorporate both into your skincare routine, consider using a wash-off benzoyl peroxide cleanser and following up with salicylic acid serum.

Alternatively, you can just use them at different times in your day or on separate days altogether.

Overall, both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are awesome ingredients for anyone with acne prone skin.

Struggling to keep up with skincare? You need to sign up for my newsletter below! Find specific skin routines and protocols in My Roadmap or start with my Basic Skincare Guide.

Also, follow my other socials for free skincare, health, and beauty content daily: