Q. Can a salicylic acid serum be used to treat acne and acne scars on the face?

Answered by
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 14, 2022 and last reviewed on: Nov 15, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have acne and acne scars on my face. I am using Salicylic Acid face wash these days. Can I use Salicylic Acid serum too?

Please help.



Welcome to

Acne vulgaris is also called acne, and post-acne scarring appears in the form of depressions called atrophic scars or PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). It appears due to multiple factors, including habitual picking of active acne, hormonal fluctuations, and gynecological conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which may require an in-person consultation with a gynecologist to rule out their possibility. In addition, dietary modifications, climatic factors, genetics and usage of skin care products also cause them.

Since you are already using a face wash that contains Salicylic Acid and if it is effective you may continue the same. Salicylic acid serums may be too harsh on the skin in case of the presence of active acne. Therefore, taking medications and undergoing a few procedures may be beneficial, performed by professionals at their centers. So, I suggest you to follow the instructions mentioned below,

1. Use a face wash that contains Salicylic Acid 2 % and Glycolic Acid twice daily, once in the morning and at night. Gently massage your face after applying the face wash in circular motions for one minute and wash it off. Do this daily.

2. Use Clinmiskin (antibiotic) gel. Apply it on the pimples after washing your face with face wash. The gel should be applied in the morning and evening daily.

3. Take a chewable tablet of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 500 milligrams twice daily after food for two months.

4. Avoid oily and fried food, milk and dairy products, red meat, and sweets.

5. Drink at least ten glasses of water daily. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

6. Avoid picking up the pimples to avoid scarring.

7. Acne scars can be reduced by chemical peels which are done in sessions at a dermatology clinic by a professional to lessen the appearance of acne scars. Laser therapies for active acne and acne scarring may also be done in sessions every month which is very beneficial. The chemical peel act similarly but is better than Salicylic Acid serum and may not cause irritation as compared to when done at home.

8. Acne may appear on and off till the late twenties.

Kindly consult a specialist, talk with them and take the medications with their consent.

I hope this was helpful.

Thanks and regards.

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