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Salicylic Acid: Your New Scalp Savior

April 17, 2020

Salicylic Acid: Your New Scalp Savior

If your ultimate Spring hair goals are to have healthy, beautiful, long curls (and let’s be honest, we covet that- no matter what the season...) then let us introduce you to a lesser-known element in haircare products you never knew you needed until now. 

You’ve been steaming, deep-conditioning and wearing protective styles to bed in an effort to achieve those great lengths in your mane- but even after all your hard hair work, you’re still scratching your head and trying to work out when you’re going to see those results.

If you’ve hit a brick wall with your hair lengthening efforts, it might be time to go back to the very foundation, and start right at the root of the potential problem: your scalp! Here’s where this secret ingredient that you probably didn’t realize was so beneficial to your overall hair health comes in... Meet Salicylic Acid. 

What is Salicylic Acid? 

Regardless of its clinical-sounding name, salicylic acid actually comes from natural sources, and is found in the bark of the white willow tree. It’s widely used across a range of skincare products and highly prized for its exfoliating properties. You might have seen it as an ingredient in face cleansing products- specifically for acne, as it has powerful keratolytic properties. This means it slows down the rate at which your cells shed, and unclogs pores. 

So, How Does That Translate to Being Good for Your Scalp? 

Salicylic acid works by effectively and safely sloughing off the external epidermis, or top layer of your skin. Did you know that just like the skin on your face and body, your scalp actually needs exfoliating too?

When you use products that contain salicylic acid and gently strip away the scalp’s outer layer of skin, you’re preventing irritations like dandruff, fungal infections and folliculitis, also known as scalp acne. Yes, that’s a thing. 

But they’re not the only problems that are caused by having clogged pores on your scalp… Having a congested scalp with scaly skin buildup may even be damaging your precious hair follicles, causing hair loss and preventing your hair from growing too.

What Does Salicylic Acid Prevent and Treat? 

Many of us have scalps that are clogged with oil, dirt and product build-up. Even after washing with regular shampoo, we may think our scalps are clean from giving them a good scrub, however without getting a proper exfoliating agent in there to work on a cellular level, we’re unknowingly leaving a lot of problem skin behind that’s wreaking havoc on our hair follicles. 


If you’ve ever suffered from dandruff, you’ll know that having those white flakes in our naturally thick, curly hair is a curse you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Dandruff is caused by the scalp producing too many skin cells, which then die rapidly on top of one another. When these skin cells are produced too quickly for your scalp’s normal removal processes to shed them off, your scalp becomes flaky and dry. Once your scalp is clogged up with all that excess dead skin and no way to get rid of it, your hair follicles become blocked and your hair can’t grow. In its worst cases, it can even suffocate the hair follicles and they’ll eventually give up entirely, causing hair loss (and a lot of distress when we see our hair falling out.) 

Another condition caused by a congested scalp is seborrheic dermatitis. Similar to dandruff, it’s an unfortunate combination of stubborn dead skin buildup accompanied by excess sebum production, scaly patches, an itchy rash, inflammation and greasy yellow scales. No. Thank. You. When your scalp becomes inflamed by seborrheic dermatitis, it’s deprived of the consistent blood flow that’s required to deliver nutrients to your hair follicles and remove damaging toxins.

Regular use of salicylic acid will gently and effectively exfoliate your scalp, tackling the flaking element in both of these conditions- along with general dryness and buildup on your scalp that could be causing some serious long-term hair problems down the road if left unaddressed.

How Do I Incorporate Salicylic Acid Into My Haircare Routine?

It's actually really easy! Salicylic acid is the single most widely used ingredient in dandruff shampoos and scalp treatments- you just need to know what you're looking for. Even if a product is not specifically advertised as containing salicylic acid on the front of the label... Chances are that if it's described as a scalp care product or anti-dandruff shampoo, salicylic acid will likely be the star of the show. This superhero ingredient is really that good. Flip the bottle over and check the ingredients list. If you see White Willow Bark in the ingredients list, or salicylic acid in a concentration of 0.5-3%, you're onto a winner. 

You can easily adopt the use of salicylic acid treatments into your scalp care routine on the regular, and it's as simple as choosing the right shampoo. It’s a safe, easy-to-use topical treatment, and a little bit goes a long way.

Your scalp will be nourished and love the deep cleaning exfoliation- and you’ll be rewarded with healthy, strong hair follicles... a clear, flake-free scalp... and long, beautiful hair! 


The World Health Organization named salicylic acid as one of the most important medicinal ingredients in the world, and included it on its List of Essential Medicines. We got the memo a while ago about the incredible benefits of using salicylic acid on our scalps , and we’re so glad you’re in on the secret now too!

Can’t wait to hear your healthy scalp success stories- we’d love you to share how using salicylic acid has turned your scalp and hair’s health around. Please share your experiences in the comments below…

~Keneesha and the Urbanbella Team. 

P.S. Our individual U|B Hand Sanitizer Spray is sold out, but we still have a limited amount of our U|B Soothe & Restore Hand Sanitizer Spray + Hand Lotion Duo available!

Get Yours Here

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