Benzoyl Peroxide Versus Salicylic Acid for Women Over 50

As you research the various acne-fighting skin care options, you’ll find that two ingredients stand out: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid

When it comes to skincare, it can be a bit confusing to navigate the many products available. This is especially true with products designed to fight acne. As you start to research the various acne-fighting skin care options, you’ll likely begin to notice that two ingredients stand out: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Both of them have some potent acne-fighting benefits. But which of these two ingredients is best for women over 50? Let’s explore this question in detail and take a look at a few skincare products that will work well with your routine.

Similarities of Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid

There are some shared characteristics of these two ingredients. For example, both of them are usually found in over-the-counter acne treatments. They also both have the capability to fight acne, no matter what age you are.

What’s the Difference?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the differences between these two acne-fighting ingredients.

Benzoyl peroxide actually kills off the bacteria, which commonly creates pimples. It also whisks away skin cells that have died. This is beneficial if you’re prone to acne because an excess of dead cells can lead to clogged pores, which can further encourage the development of acne.

On the other hand, Salicylic acid is an ingredient that’s even more focused on keeping those pores free and clear. This acne fighter helps to remove all of the dirt, oils, and skin cells that tend to keep pores clogged. It even has some anti-aging benefits that benzoyl peroxide doesn’t. However, salicylic acid may take several weeks to work its magic. So keep that in mind if you decide to try a new product containing this acne-fighting ingredient.

benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid

Potential Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide

As with many treatments, you may find that you experience some side effects with either of these two ingredients. Generally, these effects are going to be rather mild for most of us. They’ll also likely take care of themselves once you decrease the amount of product you use or stop using it altogether, if necessary.

Benzoyl peroxide could cause your skin to become dry, according to Mayo Clinic. You also might notice your skin becoming red, or you may feel a stinging sensation after using it. Since this ingredient contains peroxide, you’ll also want to be extra cautious when applying it. If you accidentally spill a bit on your clothing, it could stain or turn white.

Salicylic acid’s side effects generally revolve around a stinging sensation or feeling that your skin is irritated. If you tend to have sensitive skin, you may find that these reactions are a little more intense for you. Therefore, it may help to start with small amounts of an acne-fighting product to prevent uncomfortable reactions.

Which is Best for Mature Skin?

Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be beneficial in treating adult acne. When it comes to fighting acne while caring for mature skin, however, salicylic acid has a few advantages.

That’s because salicylic acid is very similar to beta hydroxy acid, or BHA—though it’s not the exact same thing, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. This is a good thing for mature skin that’s acne-prone. BHAs can help fight some of the signs of aging as our skin matures. Finding a product that fights acne and helps reduce the visible signs of aging may be what you want to look for if you are over 50.

Products with Salicylic Acid

Now that we’ve explored both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, let’s look at some products that would make excellent additions to your skincare routine.

Skin Ceuticals Blemish + Age Defense

Blemish + Age Defense is a targeted, oil-free approach for aging skin prone to breakouts. This first-to-market acid blend combines 2% dioic acid with an optimal alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid formulation to reduce the formation of acne and clogged pores while improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

CeraVe Renewing SA Face Cleanser

If you’re looking for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid and is great for sensitive skin, look no further than this CeraVe product. It will gently exfoliate your skin while also adding moisture with powerhouse ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer

Moisturization is an important step that you do not want to skip in your skincare routine. Neutrogena, a household name, has created this facial moisturizer containing salicylic acid to help fight acne while hydrating. It even has a pink grapefruit scent for a refreshing finish.

Mario Badescu Glass Bottle Drying Lotion

Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Calamine combine in this fast-acting solution that has earned accolades for over 50 years for its ability to help dry up surface blemishes overnight.

Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash

Acne isn’t just contained to our faces. Many of us experience body acne, which can also be treated by using products with salicylic acid. Phisoderm’s body wash boasts a two percent salicylic acid makeup and contains soothing aloe along with Vitamin E.

The Bottom Line on Acne Ingredients

While benzoyl peroxide can be an effective acne-fighting ingredient, it may not be quite as beneficial as salicylic acid is for mature skin. However, if you’re concerned about the signs of aging and you have acne, you may want to find products that feature salicylic acid. Not only will these products help fight acne, but they’ll also help reduce visible signs of aging. With the right skincare products, you can beat acne and take great care of your skin in your 50s and beyond.

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