10 February 2020
What do your refrigerator and a great acne cream have in common? They both contain betaine salicylate. A fatty acid that’s derived from the sugar beet plant, betaine salicylate can be found in all sorts of fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well as occurring naturally within your skin.
So, why are people queuing up to get the latest sugar beet-infused skincare product? The answer lies in its combination of exfoliating and hydrating properties.
What Is Betaine Salicylate?
Betaine salicylate is a keratolytic beta hydroxy acid (BHA), similar to salicylic acid, which resurfaces the skin, improving skin tone and texture. Unlike salicylic acid though, betaine salicylate is surprisingly gentle on the skin.
While AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs both break down the intercellular glue that holds skin debris to the surface, BHAs are stronger, more thoroughly removing the uppermost layer of the dermis. However, betaine salicylate is a weaker acid than its fellow BHAs.
Research has indicated that betaine salicylate may also improve collagen production, hyperpigmentation and intracellular water retention. Most pharmaceutical betaine salicylate is also vegan-friendly, thanks to those sugar beet plants mentioned earlier.
How Does It Work?
Like other BHAs, betaine salicylate breaks down the glue which traps dead and damaged skin cells on the surface of the skin. This not only improves the skin’s texture and appearance but encourages healthy new cells to grow in their place.
Due to its keratolytic (peeling) effect, betaine salicylate is even used in the removal of epidermal defects such as warts and calluses. But for normal and oily facial skin, the everyday keratolytic effect of betaine salicylate reduces the occurrence of blackheads and stops the formation of the clogged pores which can lead to acne.
Who Can Benefit From Using Betaine Salicylate?
As you may have guessed, those who will most benefit from using betaine salicylate are those who have mild acne. While salicylic acid is the better ingredient for more severe breakouts, most people with the odd occurrence of mild acne will find that betaine salicylate does the trick.
Not only is betaine salicylate effective at breaking down the sebum and keratin build up in the skin’s pores, but due to it being approximately half the strength of salicylic acid, it’s also gentle enough for sensitive skin.
This being said, as with all AHA and BHA exfoliants, we recommend being particularly cautious in protecting your skin from sunlight exposure following use. Always use a broad-spectrum SPF to avoid sensitivity and skin damage.
What Products Contain Betaine Salicylate?
If you suffer from mild acne or just wish to experience the exfoliating benefits of a BHA exfoliator firsthand, allbeauty have you covered. Here are a few of our top picks of products which contain betaine salicylate.
Formulated with propolis extract, aloe barbadensis leaf water, and camellia sinensis leaf water, COSRX AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer is a simple, lightweight moisturiser suitable for oily, acne-prone skin.
AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer 80ml
For a lighter, daily treatment, try the Darphin Cleansing Foam Gel 125ml. A purifying foam gel cleanser designed for combination to oily skin types that lathers into a foam and gently but thoroughly removes impurities, excess oil, and makeup.
If inflamed, irritated skin is dulling your shine, Cosrx AC Collection Calming Liquid Intensive offers a solution. With hydrating propolis to deeply hydrate, betaine salicylate and two AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid), the skin is left cleansed, soothed and hydrated.