Adapalene vs Salicylic Acid for Blackheads

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Acne | 0 comments

There are numerous acne products out there. When you compare Adapalene with salicylic acid products, the difference is clear. Please keep reading to know more about it.    

The best way to get rid of blackheads

Use a salicylic acid formulation – If you are already suffering from blackheads, there are a few dermatologist-endorsed methods to reduce their appearance, and some are preventive. One go-to ingredient for getting rid of blackheads is salicylic acid which increases skin cell turnover and unclogs pores. The acne treatment helps dry active acne lesions because it is a mild chemical irritant. A lot of research studies suggest salicylic acid helps treat acne. 

Incorporate a retinoid into your skincare routine – Retinoids are a reliable method for eliminating blackheads. Retinoids promote skin cell turnover and decrease the stickiness of the cells to prevent blockage of the hair follicle. Initially, comedones may worsen as cell turnover against a clogged opening causes further dilation. However, with continued treatment, the plugged hair follicles begin to improve, and with skin turnover promoted, they are less likely to get blocked.  

Salicylic acid and Adapalene is the most well-known antiacne agent. Widely available over the counter, they help clear mild acne and prevent future breakouts. Please continue reading to know more about the benefits and important facts associated with each skincare ingredient, their use, and the products to try.

What are the benefits of each ingredient?

Both skincare ingredients help remove dead skin cells, which helps clog pores and contributes to acne breakouts.

Salicyclic acid:

Salicylic acid is majorly prescribed to treat blackheads and whiteheads. When sued regularly, this skincare ingredient may also prevent the formation of future comedones. Salicylic acid gets into your skin and removes dead skin cells from clogging your pores. It takes several weeks to see its full effects. Check with your dermatologist if you cannot see results after six weeks of regular usage. It is best to consult a dermatologist before using a salicylic acid ointment. Your doctor may suggest a form and dosage specifically for your skin type and current skin condition. They might also recommend you apply the formulation for 2 to 3 days. Make sure you apply the product to a small area of affected skin to test your reaction before applying it to the entire affected area.   

When used in higher concentrations, salicylic acid is a peeling agent for treating acne, acne scars, age spots, and melasma.  

Although salicylic acid is safe, it may cause skin irritation when initiating treatment. It may also remove too much oil, resulting in dryness and potential irritation. Other potential side effects include hives, itching, tingling, and peeling skin.   


Unclogs pores- Adapalene fights all types of acne (blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne, etc.) by preventing skin pores from getting blocked with dead skin in the first place. It normalizes the skin cell creation process. As your skin produces new cells, Adapalene ensures the new cells are programmed in a way that they shed when they reach the surface of your skin. This prevents the building up of dead skin cells and the blocking of pores.

Keeps pores clean- Adapalene is a comedolytic agent that prevents acne from developing in the future. It keeps the pores unclogged, and no whiteheads and blackheads from trapped excess oil or dead skin cells present there. Because it prevents blackheads and whiteheads from returning, adapalene gel 0.1 is an excellent skin care agent to incorporate into your skincare routine if you have acne-prone skin.     

Powerful anti-inflammatory agent-Adapalene’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduces redness and swelling associated with acne. As per research studies on the anti-inflammatory properties of retinoid formulations, Adapalene is especially effective against inflamed acne (like pustules and papules).  

Less irritating than Retin A- Research studies have found that Adapalene produces results faster than Retin- A and is less irritable than Retin- A, making it an effective remedy for those people with sensitive skin.  

How to pick the best one

The product you choose will depend upon the following factors:

  • The type of acne you have – Salicylic acid and Adapalene are effective for black and whiteheads. Your dermatologist may be prescribed other antiacne therapies for more severe forms of acne.
  • The severity of your breakouts – Both ingredients are intended for mild breakouts, and they can take several weeks to cause the full effect.   
  • Your overall skin health – Salicyclic acid is milder and may not aggravate your sensitive skin. Make sure you consult a dermatologist before you wish to use an antiacne treatment for yourself.  
  • Any underlying medical condition – Both ingredients are effective in treating acne, but it is always to check with a dermatologist if you have an underlying skin condition. You should speak to your doctor if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disorder.


While there is no cure for acne, salicylic acid and Adapalene may offer relief and help improve a breakout. If you are seeing results after six weeks of regular usage, you may want to reconsider meeting your dermatologist. They may suggest stronger antiacne solutions.

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