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Salicylic Acid… For Hair?

Does Salicylic Acid Benefit Hair?


Estimated Read Time:  3.5 minutes


Summary: In this blog we detail and explore what salicylic acid is, and how it can benefit your hair and its growth. We’ll discuss how salicylic acid works, what it can optimize within the scalp and the hair’s environment, and how salicylic acid can actually help hair and growth rate. Read on to discover more about salicylic acid, what it is and how it contributes to hair and scalp health…


Salicylic acid has become a hero skin care product in recent years, particularly when it comes to targeting acne and balancing oily/combination skin.

It’s also commonly found in hair care products, but now it’s starting to make more of a name for itself because of it’s touted helpful and beneficial results.

But, what is it? And how does it help and work for hair…?

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid was originally derived from myrtle, salix alba or white willow bark. Now it’s sourced from certain foods like walnuts. It’s approved by the World Health Organization on their Essential Medicine List, and is used to treat everything from warts and ringworm, to dandruff and acne. It’s a colorless synthesizer and is very powerful.

You’ll know it as a popular ingredient in most skin tonics and toners that aim to cleanse, smooth and brighten. 

How Can Salicylic Acid Help Hair? 

Salicylic acid works in shampoo by naturally stripping away the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). This means it aids the removal of dead skin cells and product build up from the scalp and hair follicles, making it very popular in products that target dandruff (because dandruff is a build up of dead skin!). 

In addition, it can also penetrate the pores deeply; it unclogs the follicles and clears them out which, in turn, prevents the scalp from overproducing oil. This can mean that the hair’s growth phase is less disturbed, allowing for healthier growth and reducing the chances of an irritated, greasy scalp occurring.

It’s thought to be one of the most effective cleansing ingredients out there.

So, if you’ve noticed you’re battling a dry, flaky scalp, you have scalp acne (folliculitis) or you’re finding you need to wash your hair more often because of greasiness - salicylic acid might be worth giving a go!

Related Read

Why Is My Hair So Oily?

What’s The Relationship With Salicylic Acid And Hair Loss?

There isn’t one! If anything, it induces the opposite. Salicylic acid can be good for hair growth. 

Firstly, if you suffer with dandruff and thin hair it can prevent scalp irritation, so reduces the likelihood of you itching and scratching at the skin which in turn can disrupt and damage the hair follicle. 

Secondly, it unblocks the hair follicles because of it’s ability to deeply cleanse them and remove excess product build up and sebum (oil), so salicylic acid can then create a desirable scalp environment and help the hair follicles work optimally during the hair’s growth phase. 

So, Is Salicylic Acid Safe?

Yes. Salicylic acid is safe to use. The word ‘acid’ can seem intimidating in health and beauty products, but the ingredient is typically utilized in relatively small quantities in most formulas.

Allergic reactions in salicylic acid are not common, but if you experience an increase in dry skin, a burning sensation, redness, or broken skin, you should stop using it. 

Where Can I Find Salicylic Acid For Hair?

We’ve included salicylic acid in our Microstem++ Shampoo & Conditioner* formula, because of it’s natural ability to remove the outmost layer of the epidermis, and because it gently washes away dead skin from the scalp which can clog and suppress activity in the hair follicles. So, in turn, and as discussed above, it can optimize the scalp and help create a more desirable growth environment! 

*Only available as part of Cel’s Hair Growth System

Related Reads

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Ingredients To Watch Out For In Your Hair Care Products


World Health Organization Model List Of Essential Medicines

For Hims

Refresh Scalp Care



Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.