Why Is Salicylic Acid In Shampoo?


You are probably well aquatinted with salicylic acid by now with blog posts I’ve done like this one or this one or even this one. But they were all centered around skincare, so why now is salicylic acid popping up as an ingredient in shampoo. Does it really have any business being there? Or has it always been there and we just never noticed?

Clean Rinse by Sunday Riley contains salicylic acid to exfoliate the scalp.

Salicylic acid goes well beyond facial toners and astringents and is actually scientifically proven to help treat conditions that affect the scalp, like seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis capitis (dandruff) and psoriasis (although this one needs more research).

Does it work in your scalp the way it works in skincare?

Yes it does!

In certain skin and scalp conditions, dead skin cells can accumulate, creating thick patches of dry skin. A salicylic acid shampoo can help by breaking down these patches while increasing moisture to help stop them from forming.

Can salicylic acid shampoo cause irritation?

Yes it can, in the same way that it can for your skin. If you are irritated by it in your skincare you are very likely to had an irritated scalp using a salicylic acid shampoo too. Common side effects include; increased dry skin, burning sensation, redness and broken or peeling skin. If you experience any of these while using a salicyclic acid shampoo or hair treatment then stop using it.

Where can you buy it?

There are actually loads of places to buy it and it depends on the type of scalp condition you want to treat. If you have more of a serious condition a doctor will usually prescribe a specific one to you or if you just want something that has salicylic acid in it, that helps to keep the scalp dandruff free here are a few you can pick up:

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliation Treatment

Kérastase Specifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm 250ml

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub

Sunday Riley Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum

They key takeaway is that salicylic acid in shampoo is completely normal and healthy for the scalp. It works in exactly the same way it does in skincare, to rid the skin of built up dead skin cells. Therefore, allowing other ingredients to work better.

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