Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions 1% or 2% sodium salicylate vs 5% tea tree oil comparison for acne.

  • 1% or 2% sodium salicylate vs 5% tea tree oil comparison for acne.

    Posted by abdullah on June 2, 2022 at 1:59 am

    For acne, Currently i am selling 2% salicylic acid water solution neutralized with sodium hydroxide to pH 5-5.5. It is a leave on product applied once or twice a day.
    My two competitors, one is a cream with 5% tea tree oil, another has 8% sulfur. 

    I may reduce the percentage of salicylic acid to 1% in the future or may not.

    My question is: how do you compare these products in trem of effectiveness for acne and skin tolerance?

    1. 2% sodium salicylate water solution pH 5-5.5
    2. 1% sodium salicylate water solution pH 5-5.5
    3. Cream with 5% tea tree oil
    4. Product with 8% sulfur

    All of then leave on products. 

    abdullah replied 1 year, 9 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • dr-catherine-pratt

    June 4, 2022 at 12:14 am

    Hi Abdullah, I would not use Tea Tree oil at all and certainly not instead of salicylic acid. I am a formulator from Australia and we grew up with T. tree and all my US and Aussie clients over the last decade have all declined using T. Tree and eucalyptus. I believe Salicylic Acid or other Organic Acids have better efficacy anyway. 
    Essential Oils are not pure, so do not think that going down the Essential Oil route is better or natural. 
    Also, if you are trying to go for natural or organic leave out the Sulfur as well. People are far more educated now and they read the ingredients lists. As soon as they see chemicals like sulfur however disguised it is they will put it straight back on the shelf.
    Why not try putting Vitamin C (there are many more stable species now), HA, salicylic, lactic, Organic Fruit acids eg. Pineapple, Fig, pomegranate, Nicotinamide, Natural Vitamin A alternative i.e. Bakuchiol, and/or calming agents as wearing masks AKA Maskne skin has resulted in skin redness, rashes, soreness, rough patches, sensitivity. Then I would add things like colloidal oats, allantoin, piroctone olamine etc.
    If you want to add scent T. tree is not popular at all. Try cucumber, Bergamot and a cool wood, Buddha wood or even Orange, Sandalwood and Buddha Wood.
    That is my 20 cents worth. Good luck.

  • abdullah

    June 4, 2022 at 2:16 am

    Thanks a lot @”Dr Catherine Pratt”

    My product is simple 2% salicylic acid in water neutralized with sodium hydroxide to dissolve it in water.
    In that line of products i only use functional ingredients and reduce anything else as much as possible so no need to use fragrance or marketing ingredients. 
    Kind of trying to copy The ordinary type but more simpler.

    I have piroctone olamine but can’t dissolve it in simple water solutions for leave on products.
    Any idea how dissolve even 0.1% piroctone olamine in water without using glycols? 

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