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The Top 6 Body Washes That Contain Salicylic Acid in 2021

The Top 6 Body Washes That Contain Salicylic Acid in 2021

If you’ve done any research at all on getting rid of bumpy, irritated skin on your body, you’ve probably come across salicylic acid. It has been used for decades to treat numerous skin conditions and is quite an effective exfoliant.

A popular way to apply it is with a gel or body wash. This article will highlight the best salicylic acid body washes on the market and provide some more detailed information on what exactly salicylic acid is, how it works, and how to best use it.

Just read on to learn more!

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is derived from the metabolism of salicin. It is best known as a key ingredient in topical anti-acne products but is also an important active metabolite of aspirin. 

It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, which contains the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. 

How Does Salicylic Acid Work, and is it Safe?

Salicylic acid causes epidermis cells to shed, preventing pores from getting clogged, and spurring new cell growth. It is ideal for milder acne (blackheads and whiteheads) and can take several weeks to see progress. 

Keep in mind, salicylic acid does not affect sebum production, nor does it kill bacteria. You will have to use other products for that. Additionally, it must be used continuously to be effective. 

Although it may dry out and irritate your skin initially, it is considered safe overall to use, and you should use as needed. If your skin is particularly sensitive, avoid scented washes or washes with harsh, exfoliating beads. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t use it.

The Top 8 Salicylic Acid Body Washes


  • The #1 dermatologist recommended acne-fighting brand
  • Won’t over-dry or irritate your skin
  • The gentle formula contains glycerin, a known moisturizer
  • Comes in unscented or pink grapefruit


  • Won’t eliminate cystic back acne 
  • Has a mild scent – the smell is very medicine-y


  • Developed with dermatologists
  • Good for improving keratosis pilaris in some people
  • Even though it has an exfoliant, it doesn’t contain any skin-damaging microbeads
  • Contains Ceramides, Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid for additional protection and moisture
  • Paraben-free and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores)
  • Non-drying, non-irritating, and fragrance-free
  • Controlled-release technology delivers 24-hour hydration
  • Large bottle


  • Percentage of Salicylic Acid not listed on the label
  • Doesn’t smell that good


  • Dermatologist-developed products
  • Endorsed by many celebrities
  • Exfoliates with gentle beads
  • Leaves skin feeling refreshed, never tight or dry
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Use it on body or face
  • Comes with a deep cleansing body brush


  • Not easy to dispense without a pump applicator
  • Many people don’t like the consistency and color


  • Contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), which enhances exfoliation
  • Contains papaya, ginseng, linden, and grapefruit extracts
  • Contains soothing, healing oatmeal
  • Has a grapefruit scent, which many users enjoy
  • Leaves no soapy residue
  • Vegan friendly
  • Should not over-dry the skin
  • A lathering formula


  • Contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • AHAs may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun


  • Trusted dermatologist recommended brand
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Soothing, protecting oils
  • Great for colder climates


  • Weird scent
  • Doesn’t lather as much


  • Great for dry skin
  • Has 15% Glycolic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Gotu Kola, and vitamin E
  • Foaming
  • Sulfate-free
  • Formulated with a pH of 3.5 to allow for more “free acids” to work on your skin
  • No harmful beads, parabens, dyes, phthalates, sulfates, or drying alcohols
  • 100% satisfaction or your money back
  • Made in the USA in a cruelty-free FDA inspected and cGMP/SOP compliant facility


  • Has chemical scent
  • Pricey

Tips for Using Salicylic Acid Body Wash

One thing’s for sure: salicylic acid is drying, so it’s a good idea to start slow. Incorporate it into your shower routine every other day and build up a tolerance. After using it, it’s always a good idea to slap on some moisturizer. 

If you find yourself reacting negatively to the product, it may be the scent in it, so look for a scent-free alternative.

Another useful tip is to apply it gently. Don’t scrub your skin too hard. The product will work regardless of how rigorously you apply it. Let it foam and cleanse your skin naturally. 

Additionally, there are instructions on the label. Don’t skip reading those. 

Things You Can Do On Top of Using Salicylic Acid Body Wash

The best way to fight skin irritation such as bacne is by fighting it on multiple fronts. On top of using one of the products listed above, you should stick to the following rules:

  1. Always shower immediately after a workout 
  2. Wear loose-fitting clothing
  3. Keep hair off your back
  4. Choose sunscreen carefully
  5. Eat healthily
  6. Wash your bras frequently
  7. Try not to pick

Hopefully, this article provided you with some useful insights and products that can get you started on your skin journey. Happy cleansing!

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