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The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser Ingredients Explained

3.9   from 7 ratings
38
5
17
8

Updated on July 18, 2023

Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 25 ingredients that contains BHA and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

It doesn't contain any oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

The INKEY List is from United Kingdom. This product is used in 589 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

BHA
Vitamin E

Benefits

Hydrating (2)
Good For Oily Skin
Redness Reducing (2)
Reduces Irritation (2)
Reduces Large Pores
Scar Healing (3)
Acne Fighting (2)
Brightening (3)

Concerns

Drying (3)
May Worsen Oily Skin
Acne Trigger
Irritating (2)
Rosacea (3)
Eczema (3)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Solvent
2
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
3
Cleansing, Foaming
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
4
Cleansing
May worsen Eczema Icon
5
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
6
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
7
Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
8
Emulsifying
9
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
10
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Good for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
11
Preservative
Preservative Icon
12
Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
13
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
14
Buffering
15
Cleansing, Foaming
16
Emollient, Emulsifying, Perfuming
Fragrance IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
17
Perfuming, Preservative, Solvent
Alcohol IconFragrance IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconEU Allergen IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
18
Cleansing, Emollient, Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
19
Skin Conditioning
20
Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
21
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
22
Preservative
Preservative Icon
23
24
Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
25
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 25 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
2
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
3
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate isn't fungal acne safe.

4
What it does: Cleansing
Community Rating: Disliked

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a fatty acid created by mixing similar compounds in coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. Dimethylaminopropylamine is a diamine, an amine with two amino groups.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a surfactant and cleanser. It helps gather the dirt, pollutants, and other impurities in your skin to be washed away. It also helps thicken a product and make the texture more creamy.

Being created from coconut oil means Cocamidopropyl Betaine is hydrating for the skin.

While Cocamidopropyl Betaine was believed to be an allergen, a study from 2012 disproved this. It found two compounds in unpure Cocamidopropyl Betaine to be the irritants: aminoamide and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. High-grade and pure Cocamidopropyl Betaine did not induce allergic reactions during this study.

Learn more about Cocamidopropyl Betaine
5
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate is used to improve texture and stability of a product. It is sugar based and helps thicken a product.

Once applied, it also creates a thin film to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

This ingredient is the polyethylene glycol ether of the diester of oleic acid and methylglucose. The 120 represents an average of 120 moles of ethylene oxide.

There is limited research on this ingredient, although it is considered safe to use in skincare products.

Learn more about Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate
6
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
7
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate isn't fungal acne safe.

8
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

This ingredient is derived from caprylic and capric acids. It is an emulsifier with emollient properties.

According to the manufacturer, it is hydrophilic and soluble in aqueous solutions (water). They also state this ingredient is stable in a medium pH range (~5 - 8).

As an emulsifier, it helps make oils and oil-soluble ingredients more soluble in water.

Learn more about Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides
9
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Betaine is a common humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture). It's known to be gentle on the skin and can help balance hydration.

Betaine is best for improving hydration and soothing irritated skin. Studies show betaine may help with uneven skin tones.

Betaine is naturally created in the skin and body. The form found within cosmetic products can be either plant-dervied or synthetic.

Learn more about Betaine
10
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Zinc PCA (or "zinc salt") differs slightly from zinc itself. PCA stands for pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. However, Zinc PCA comes from zinc.

It can help reduce redness, regulate sebum, and promote the general healing process of the skin.

Zinc PCA tends to be especially useful for those with oily, acne-prone skin. It's certainly an ingredient worth trying out!

Learn more about Zinc PCA
11
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

12
What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

This ingredient has many purposes in skincare: thickener, emulsifier, and exfoliator.

You'll most likely find this ingredient in cleansers where it is used to create a gel-like texture. As an emulsifier, it also prevents ingredients from separating.

There is much debate on whether this ingredient is comedogenic. The short answer - comedogenic ratings don't tell the whole story. Learn more about comegodenic ratings here.

The concensus about this ingredient causing acne seems to be divided. Research is needed to understand if this ingredient does cause acne.

Scrubs may use salt as the primary exfoliating ingredient.

Learn more about Sodium Chloride
13
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
Community Rating: Loved

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

Some studies have shown this ingredient can promote wound healing with higher concentrations.

Allantoin is derived from the comfrey plant but produced synthetically for cosmetic products to ensure purity.

Learn more about Allantoin
14
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
15
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming
Community Rating: Disliked

Coco-Glucoside is a surfactant, or a cleansing ingredient. It is made from glucose and coconut oil.

Surfactants help gather dirt, oil, and other pollutants from your skin to be rinsed away. Coco-Glucoside is considered gentle and non-comedogenic.

This ingredient is a known skin-irritant.

Learn more about Coco-Glucoside
16
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Perfuming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Glyceryl Oleate is a fragrance and isn't fungal acne safe.

17
What it does: Perfuming, Preservative, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Benzyl Alcohol is most commonly used as a preservative. It also has a subtle, sweet smell. Small amounts of Benzyl Alcohol is not irritating and safe to use in skincare products. Most Benzyl Alcohol is derived from fruits such as apricots.

Benzyl Alcohol has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties. These properties help lengthen the shelf life of products. Benzyl Alcohol is a solvent and helps dissolve other ingredients. It can also improve the texture and spreadability.

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is an astringent alcohol.

Using high concentrations of these alcohols are drying on the skin. They may strip away your skin's natural oils and even damage your skin barrier. Astringent alcohols may also irritate skin.

Other types of astringent alcohols include:

According to the National Rosacea Society based in the US, you should be mindful of products with these alcohols in the top half of ingredients.

Any type of sanitizing product will have high amounts of alcohol to help kill bacteria and viruses.

Learn more about Benzyl Alcohol
18
What it does: Cleansing, Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Coconut Acid isn't fungal acne safe.

19
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

20
What it does: Masking, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Both the US FDA and EU Health Committee have approved the use of sodium benzoate. In the US, levels of 0.1% (of the total product) are allowed.

Sodium benzoate works as a preservative by inhibiting the growth of bacteria inside of cells. It prevents the cell from fermenting a type of sugar using an enzyme called phosphofructokinase.

Sodium Benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Foods containing sodium benzoate include soda, salad dressings, condiments, fruit juices, wines, and snack foods.

Studies for using ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate in cosmetics are lacking, especially in skincare routines with multiple steps.

We always recommend speaking with a professional, such as a dermatologist, if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Benzoate
21
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
22
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Loved

Dehydroacetic Acid is fungicide and bactericide. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics. Preservatives help elongate the shelf life of a product.

Dehydroacetic Acid is not soluble in water.

23
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

24
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skinโ€™s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
25
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate isn't fungal acne safe.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 25 ingredients in this product โœจ

36% are loved or liked
8% have mixed ratings
52% are disliked or very disliked
4% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Salicylic Acid Cleanser ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

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Latest Reviews

View all 7
RasberryIce's Avatar'
Mar 13, 2024

Texture: watery gel like
Smell: none
Pros:
It's a pretty good product for clearing mild acne. Although you have to keep in mind that it shouldn't be used daily, since it can cause sensitivity. Every other day works best for me. The...

Texture: watery gel like
Smell: none
Pros:
It's a pretty good product for clearing mild acne. Although you have to keep in mind that it shouldn't be used daily, since it can cause sensitivity. Every other day works best for me. The results started around the second month of use. It didn't completely clear my face in the four months I've used it, but it made a tremendous difference.
100% recommend, if your acne isn't too severe.
Cons:
It's too watery and doesn't foam enough, so I end up using a bit much and the bottle lasts me much less time than other alternatives.
Solid 4- 4.5

Great Value
No Scent
Works Well
Hubayobi's Avatar'
Dec 9, 2023

Good cleanser
Been using this a lot. Didnโ€™t really do much to my skin, but itโ€™s very cheap and a good daily cleanser for acne prone skin.

Good cleanser
Been using this a lot. Didnโ€™t really do much to my skin, but itโ€™s very cheap and a good daily cleanser for acne prone skin.

Great Value
No Scent
Works Well
Read more reviews ->