Salicylic Acid Pads: Best Brands, When & How to Use

Salicylic Acid Pads Best Brands, When & How To Use
Salicylic Acid Pads Best Brands, When & How To Use

Salicylic Acid Pads are pads soaked with salicylic acid that can be used on your face and body. 

This design makes it easy to apply and you’re less likely to waste much product. 

So, how do you use it to get the best results and which ones are the best ones to try? 

What Salicylic Acid Pads Do

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid. It works by penetrating the skin to break up the bonds that hold dead skin cells together in the skin. 

It gets rid of the build-up of dead skin cells along with excess oil and other debris that clog your pores. 

The soaked pads make it easier to apply to wide areas of skin or even to small, localized areas. This is especially great when using high concentrations of salicylic acid. You have more control over where you are putting it. 

Do Salicylic Acid Pads help acne?

Salicylic acid is one of the gold-standard treatments for acne and the pads make it super easy to apply it to specific areas.

It is very effective when used in the right concentration and frequency to treat varying degrees of acne. 

Not only does it unclog the pores, but it also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which help to prevent breakouts. 

Do Salicylic Acid Pads help with oily skin?

Salicylic acid is also lipolytic, which means that it breaks down the excess oil that is on our skin. The pads will make it easy for you to apply a liberal amount on the oily areas where you need them. So, yes, they can help oily skin. 

However, keep in mind that overuse (either too often or using concentrations that are too strong) can severely dry your skin out. This will make irritation, oil production and acne even worse. 

So, it’s important to find a balance by using a concentration that is right for your skin in a routine that is also suitable. 

Click here to read more about Salicylic Acid For Oily Skin – What You Need To Know

Do Salicylic Acid Pads help warts?

Salicylic acid can be used to shrink small to medium-sized warts. However, you should not use this for warts that are on your face, neck, or genitals. 

Using the pads will give you more control over where you are applying the product. So, you can avoid areas where it is not necessary and concentrate the application on the wart itself.

Strong enough concentrations of salicylic acid can remove layer after layer of skin cells to make the wart smaller and smaller. However, this will most likely take weeks to months. Also, keep in mind that the concentration needs to be strong enough to shrink the wart but not too strong to damage your skin or surrounding skin. 

I recommend seeking professional advice and guidance before using salicylic acid to treat any warts on any part of your body. Manual removal in a clinical setting might be safer, easier and much faster. 

How To Use Salicylic Acid Pads

Salicylic acid pads can be used on your skin during your skincare routine just as you would use a serum or lotion. 

This is usually after cleansing and toner (if you use a toner), in the treatment step of your routine. 

When & How

Depending on what you are treating (oily skin or acne) and how strong the salicylic acid pads are, then the frequency would vary. You may be required to apply them multiple times a day, once daily, or even once every few days. This would depend on your individual needs and your skin. 

Whether you need to use them in the morning or the evening also depends on your skin and the severity of what you are treating. 

Generally, salicylic acid is not washed off of the skin. So, whenever you apply it (morning or at night) it should be left on until you are ready to cleanse your skin again. 

However, you will need to make sure that you are moisturizing well after using this ingredient in your skincare routine. Click here to read more about Moisturizing After Salicylic Acid: What To Do & Use.

Professional Advice 

Because salicylic acid is a relatively intense ingredient, I recommend that you consult your dermatologist or skincare professional for advice on using salicylic acid pads. 

Many salicylic acid pads are available in low concentrations and some have higher concentrations. 

If you do not already know what your skin can tolerate or how much you need, the safest thing is to seek help to avoid further irritation and skin damage. 

Can you reuse Salicylic Acid pads?

You cannot reuse salicylic acid pads. 

Salicylic acid pads that are used on your skin will pick up dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria. 

Reusing them will contaminate the container with the other and will encourage contamination of your skin again, which defeats the purpose of using the pads in the first place. 

Side Effects Of Using Salicylic Acid Pads

Like all acids and active ingredients, salicylic acid, too, has a few common side effects. These include: 


If you use a concentration that is too strong for your skin, or you use it too often, salicylic acid can cause your skin to become too dry and irritated.

You might even see some peeling and redness. 

If this happens, you need to either reduce how often you use it or use a lower concentration. 

Allergic Reaction

If you are known to be allergic to aspirin, then you will most likely be allergic to salicylic acid on your skin (they are the same chemical, just different forms). 

Allergic reactions can be delayed (occur in a few days) or may happen after the first use (second exposure). It can show up as bumps, itching, swelling, redness, peeling, etc. 

If this happens, wash your skin right away and seek medical attention. 

Skin Purging

Skin purging is a common, but expected and even normal side effect of using salicylic acid.

Many people mistake it for worsening acne, allergic reactions and even irritation, but it is not. 

Skin purging is a good side effect. It happens when an active ingredient pushes dead cells, debris, oil, and other gunk from your pores up towards the surface of your skin to get rid of it at a faster rate.

This process lasts about 4-6 weeks and will resolve on its own as the skin regenerates itself. 

Click here to read all about Skin Purging from Salicylic Acid: How to Spot & Treat

Best Salicylic Acid Pads To Use

1- Neutrogena Rapid Clear Maximum Strength Acne Face Pads

Neutrogena is one of my favorite brands. They have been around since I was a very pimply teenager and their formulas have gotten much better since then. 

These pads contain 2% salicylic acid, which is a safe and regulated OTC concentration that is well tolerated by most skin types. It works amazingly well on mild to moderate and even some cases of severe acne.

It can be a little harsh on super-sensitive skin but if you apply the pads where you need them (locally) then you should be fine. Using a Moisturizer will help with any dryness after using this. 

This is also great for use on your back, chest, upper arms, and even butt cheeks where you have acne. It not only helps active lesions but when I used them I also noticed that old acne scars seemed to get lighter too!

You can Click here to get the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Maximum Strength Acne Face Pads on Amazon. 

2- Thayers Blemish Clearing Toner Pads

This is another favorite of mine. Generally, witch hazel is great for oil control. But these pads also contain 2% salicylic acid, aloe vera, and lemongrass. The combination is a solution that treats acne, hydrates, and soothes the skin. 

I have sensitive skin and many other people with sensitive skin agree that this works pretty well for them. You may need to improve your moisturizer game but other than that, you’ll be good to go. 

It can be used anywhere on your face and body (except your private parts). It helps to clear up active acne breakouts and improve the appearance of acne scars over time. 

You can Click here to check out the Thayers Blemish Clearing Toner Pads on Amazon.  

3- Neutralyze Exfoliating Pads

This is another great brand of salicylic acid pads. It contains 2% salicylic acid and mandelic acid. Together, the two fight acne, reduce oil production, and minimize your pores. They are incredibly effective. However, they can be slightly irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

The formula does not contain soothing or hydrating ingredients. So, you will need to moisturize well just after using this. If you have dry skin or easily irritated skin, you may not be able to use this daily, 

However, if your skin can tolerate the formula, the pads are super effective and worth a try!

You can Click here to view the Neutralyze Exfoliating Pads on Amazon. 


Salicylic Acid for Acne: Benefits, Dosages, and Side Effects 

Salicylic-acid – Mechanism, Indication, Contraindications, Dosing, Adverse Effect, Interaction, Hepatic Dose | Drug Index 

Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen versus topical salicylic acid application for cutaneous warts in primary care: randomized controlled trial – PMC 

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