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Salicylic Acid...For Hair?
Salicylic Acid...For Hair?

Does Salicylic Acid Benefit Hair?


Estimated Read Time:  3.5 minutes


Summary: In this blog we detail and explore what salicylic acid is, and how it can benefit your hair and its growth. We’ll discuss how salicylic acid works, what it can optimise within the scalp and the hair’s environment, and how salicylic acid can actually help hair and growth rate. Read on to discover more about salicylic acid, what it is and how it contributes to hair and scalp health…


Salicylic acid has become a hero skin care product in recent years, particularly when it comes to targeting acne and balancing oily/combination skin.

It’s also commonly found in hair care products, but now it’s starting to make more of a name for itself because of it’s touted helpful and beneficial results.

But, what is it? And how does it help and work for hair…?

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid was originally derived from myrtle, salix alba or white willow bark. Now it’s sourced from certain foods like walnuts. It’s approved by the World Health Organisation on their Essential Medicine List, and is used to treat everything from warts and ringworm, to dandruff and acne. It’s a colourless synthesiser and is very powerful.

You’ll know it as a popular ingredient in most skin tonics and toners that aim to cleanse, smooth and brighten.

How Can Salicylic Acid Help Hair?

Salicylic acid works in shampoo by naturally stripping away the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). This means it aids the removal of dead skin cells and product build up from the scalp and hair follicles, making it very popular in products that target dandruff (because dandruff is a build up of dead skin!).

In addition, it can also penetrate the pores deeply; it unclogs the follicles and clears them out which, in turn, prevents the scalp from overproducing oil. This can mean that the hair’s growth phase is less disturbed, allowing for healthier growth and reducing the chances of an irritated, greasy scalp occurring.

It’s thought to be one of the most effective cleansing ingredients out there.

So, if you’ve noticed you’re battling a dry, flaky scalp, you have scalp acne (folliculitis) or you’re finding you need to wash your hair more often because of greasiness - salicylic acid might be worth giving a go!

Related Read

Why Is My Hair So Oily?

What’s The Relationship With Salicylic Acid And Hair Loss?

There isn’t one! If anything, it induces the opposite. Salicylic acid can be good for hair growth.

Firstly, if you suffer with dandruff and thin hair it can prevent scalp irritation, so reduces the likelihood of you itching and scratching at the skin which in turn can disrupt and damage the hair follicle.

Secondly, it unblocks the hair follicles because of it’s ability to deeply cleanse them and remove excess product build up and sebum (oil), so salicylic acid can then create a desirable scalp environment and help the hair follicles work optimally during the hair’s growth phase.

So, Is Salicylic Acid Safe?

Yes. Salicylic acid is safe to use. The word ‘acid’ can seem intimidating in health and beauty products, but the ingredient is typically utilised in relatively small quantities in most formulas.

Allergic reactions in salicylic acid are not common, but if you experience an increase in dry skin, a burning sensation, redness or broken skin, you should stop using it.

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World Health Organisation Model List Of Essential Medicines

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