Touted as a go-to remedy for acne-prone skin, salicylic acid is known to slough dead cells off the surface of your skin, and deep-cleanse your pores to mitigate the incessant occurrence of breakouts. Ideal for skin that’s oily, the BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) banishes blackheads and whiteheads, reduces the production of excess oil, weakens acne-causing bacteria, and soothes inflammation. But it can be a little too harsh on your skin. So, what’s a girl to do? It’s simple, switch to milder alternatives that offer similar benefits. Ahead, we’ve listed down some milder alternatives to salicylic acid.


01. The double-duty benzoyl peroxide

The double-duty benzoyl peroxide

An effective remedy for acne, benzoyl peroxide treats severe forms of acne by decelerating the growth of bacteria on the skin and unclogging the pores. It also enables the skin to shed dead skin cells and inhibits excess oil production too. Start with a lower concentration of the formula to keep your skin from drying out. The concoction is particularly suitable for pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules.


02. The bacteria-repelling tea tree oil

The bacteria-repelling tea tree oil

A breakout-repellent, this oil is enriched with antibacterial and antiseptic properties that control the occurrence of breakouts, dry out blemishes, soothe redness, and disinfect already-existing pimples. It is, however, a little less potent than benzoyl peroxide, making it useful in mild-to-moderate cases. Remember to dilute the oil before applying it to the skin, and don’t forget to do a patch test on the back of your hand.


03. The skin-soothing allantoin

The skin-soothing allantoin

A topical application of allantoin doesn’t just soothe the skin but encourages the healing of existing breakouts while preventing the development of further ones. Apart from moisturising and exfoliating the skin, the multipurpose skincare saviour — very understated — remedies itchiness, calms inflammation and diminishes redness caused by acne.


04. The pore-unclogging glycolic acid

The pore-unclogging glycolic acid

Laced with antibacterial and antioxidant properties, the ultra-moisturising glycolic acid establishes a barrier between the outermost layer of your skin, including dead cells, and the next layer of your skin. This ‘peeling’ effect benefits acne-prone skin because it eliminates all the dirt, grime, and oils that clog the pores. This reduces the probability of breakouts in the future.


05. The salicylic-complementing sulfur

The salicylic-complementing sulfur

If your skin isn’t responding to salicylic acid, you can use a topical application of sulfur in conjunction with the acid. Sulphur removes excess oil and removes congestion by increasing skin cell turnover.