Salicylic acid acne treatment


Salicylic acid acne treatment

Salicylic acid is commonly used to treat comedonal acne, or non-inflamed acne. It works as an exfoliant and you can find it in different ways : lotions, creams, cleansers, solutions etc… To know if this medication is effective, and if it cures all types of acne and be good for you, here are the best articles about salicylic acid from the net to help :

Where to buy Salicylic acid

Salicylic Acid Topical

Why is this medication prescribed?

Salicylic acid for acneTopical salicylic acid is used to help clear and prevent pimples and skin blemishes in people who have acne. Topical salicylic acid is also used to treat skin conditions that involve scaling or overgrowth of skin cells such as psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body), ichthyoses (inborn conditions that cause skin dryness and scaling), dandruff, corns, calluses, and warts on the hands or feet. Topical salicylic acid should not be used to treat genital warts, warts on the face, warts with hair growing from them, warts in the nose or mouth, moles, or birthmarks. Salicylic acid is in a class of medications called keratolytic agents. Topical salicylic acid treats acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging blocked skin pores to allow pimples to shrink. It treats other skin conditions by softening and loosening dry, scaly, or thickened skin so that it falls off or can be removed easily.

How should this medicine be used?

Topical salicylic acid comes as a cloth (a pad or wipe used to cleanse the skin), cream, lotion, liquid, gel, ointment, shampoo, wipe, pad, and patch to apply to the skin or scalp. Topical salicylic acid comes in several strengths, including certain products that are only available with a prescription. Topical salicylic acid may be used as often as several times a day or as infrequently as several times a week, depending on the condition being treated and the product being used. Follow the directions on the package label or your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use salicylic acid exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than directed on the package or prescribed by your doctor.

If you are using topical salicylic acid to treat acne, your skin may become dry or irritated at the beginning of your treatment. To prevent this, you may apply the product less often at first, and then gradually begin to apply the product more often after your skin has adjusted to the medication. If your skin becomes dry or irritated at any time during your treatment, you may apply the product less often. Talk to your doctor or check the package label for more information.

Do not swallow topical salicylic acid. Be careful not to get topical salicylic acid in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you accidentally get topical salicylic acid in your eyes, nose, or mouth, flush the area with water for 15 minutes.

Do not apply topical salicylic acid to skin that is broken, red, swollen, irritated, or infected.

Only apply topical salicylic acid to the areas of skin that are affected by your skin condition. Do not apply topical salicylic acid to large areas of your body unless your doctor tells you that you should. Do not cover the skin where you applied topical salicylic acid with a bandage or dressing unless your doctor tells you that you should.

If you are using topical salicylic acid to treat acne or certain other skin condition, it may take several weeks or longer for you to feel the full benefit of the medication. Your condition may worsen during the first few days of treatment as your skin adjusts to the medication.

Read the package label of the topical salicylic acid product you are using very carefully. The label will tell you how to prepare your skin before you apply the medication, and exactly how you should apply the medication. Follow these directions carefully.

Other uses for this medicine

Salicylic acid for acneThis medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using topical salicylic acid,

*tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to salicylic acid or any other medications.
*do not apply any of the following products to the skin that you are treating with topical salicylic acid unless your doctor tells you that you should: abrasive soaps or cleansers; skin care products that contain alcohol; other medications that are applied to the skin such as benzoyl peroxide (BenzaClin, BenzaMycin, others), resorcinol (RA Lotion), sulfur (Cuticura, Finac, others), and tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, others); or medicated cosmetics. Your skin may become very irritated if you apply any of these products to the skin that you are treating with topical salicylic acid.
*tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: aspirin, diuretics (‘water pills’), and methyl salicylate (in some muscle rubs such as BenGay). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
*tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetesor blood vessel, kidney, or liver disease.
*you should know that children and teenagers who have chicken pox or the flu should not use topical salicylic acid unless they have been told to do so by a doctor because there is a risk that they may develop Reye’s syndrome (a serious condition in which fat builds up on the brain, liver, and other body organs).
*tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using topical salicylic acid, call your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra topical salicylic acid to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Topical salicylic acid may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

*skin irritation
*stinging in the area where you applied topical salicylic acid

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

*extreme tiredness or weakness
*fast breathing
*ringing or buzzing in the ears
*hearing loss

Topical salicylic acid may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?

Salicylic acid for acneKeep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

If someone swallows salicylic acid or applies too much salicylic acid, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

*extreme tiredness or weakness
*fast breathing
*ringing or buzzing in the ears
*hearing loss

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using topical salicylic acid.

If you are using prescription strength topical salicylic acid, do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about topical salicylic acid.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

Akurza® Cream
Akurza® Lotion
Clearasil® Ultra Daily Face Wash
Compound W® products
DHS Sal® Shampoo
DuoPlant® Gel
Dr. Scholl’s® products

Hydrisalic® Gel
Ionil® products
MG217® products
Mediplast® pads
Neutrogena® products
Noxzema® products
Oxy® Clinical Advanced Face Wash

Oxy® Maximum Cleansing Pads
Propa pH® Peel-Off Acne Mask
P&S® Shampoo
Salex® Cream
Salex® Lotion
Stri-Dex® products


Salicylic Acid and Acne: The Pro’s and Con’s

Salicylic acid is one of the most important treatments for acne on oily skin. The problems with most acne products that list salicylic acid as an ingredient are that they do not contain the right concentration of salicylic acid at the right pH.


Salicylic acid is an exfoliant ingredient that is chemically similar to aspirin. Like aspirin, salicylic acid can remove redness and inflammation as it opens pores.
Whether salicylic acid successfully exfoliates the skin depends on concentration and pH of the product. Exfoliant products that are too alkaline will not work.
Anyone who uses salicylic acid must be sure to rinse it off according to product instructions. Some people should not use salicylic acid at all.

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid for acneIf you have heard of salicylic acid, chances are that you know it as the primary ingredient in aspirin. The chemical gets its name from the Latin term for willow trees, salix, because it was first made from a complex carbohydrate found in willow bark. There are some companies that make acne care products claiming that they contain salicylic acid from willow bark, but the compound does not occur in the bark of the tree. The powdered bark has to be treated with oxidants and filtered to make the acid.

Salicylic acid is a very useful pain reliever. For a time, researchers even supposed it might be a vitamin, which they called vitamin S. Taken inside the body, salicylic acid relieves pain and improves circulation. Applied to the skin, it breaks down fatty compounds such as the oily sebum that can clog pores. In fact, it breaks down the fats and fat-like compounds in the skin so well that it is generally considered to treat the skin of the skin with more than 2% salicylic acid with 98% of the lotion a neutral carrier agent. Up to 3% salicylic acid may be used on other parts of the body, and 10% to 30% will dissolve warts.

How Is Salicylic Acid Used to Treat Acne?

Applying a mild solution of salicylic acid directly to the skin yields many of the benefits of scrubbing, without the risk of rupturing pores or breaking tiny blood vessels. Salicylic acid treatment, however, has many benefits that simple scrubbing does not.

Gently removing dead skin does more than just open pores. Salicylic acid increases cell turnover. This makes the skin grow faster, opening up pores. It increases collagen production, filling in indentations in the skin and making it less “floppy.” It removes discoloration from the skin, although it is often too strong for use on dark skin.

Salicylic acid is the only beta-hydroxy acid used in skin care. It accomplishes the same goals in skin care as alpha-hydroxy acids such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, but it is used in a much weaker concentration. Acne care products may contain as much as 30% alpha-hydroxy acids, but the same action is achieved by 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid.

Who Benefits Most from Salicylic Acid in Acne Treatment?

There is an advantage of salicylic acid over other products to open pores that is due to its close relationship to aspirin. Like its chemical cousin aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), salicylic acid can stimulate circulation, in this case, it can stimulate circulation of oil out of pores. Also like aspirin, it can relieve inflammation and redness. As long as salicylic acid is used at the right concentration, it can produce better skin color than alpha-hydroxy acids. Salicylic acid is especially useful on oily skin.

Not everyone, however, benefits from skin treatment with salicylic acid. Dermatologists advise caution in the use of salicylic acid on three skin types:

Salicylic acid for acne*Fitzpatrick Scale Skin Type IV. This is beige to brown skin, a Mediterranean or Hispanic skin type. This skin type only gets mild sunburn and tans gradually.
*Fitzpatrick Scale Skin Type V. This is dark brown skin that almost never gets sunburn and that tans easily.
*Fitzpatrick Scale Skin Type VI. This is black skin that never burns and that tans very easily.

These skin types contain many cells that produce the pigment melanin. The skin uses this antioxidant pigment to limit inflammation. Since salicylic acid inflames the skin, albeit in a good way, and these skin types can make large amounts of melanin, the risk is that acne can (and often is) replace by brown or black skin spots. Anything else that inflames the skin, whether intentional (for example, a lightening agent) or unintentional (for instance, an infection or acne itself), can also leave permanent darkening on the skin. If you have beige to black skin, you should only use salicylic acid under professional supervision.

How to Use Salicylic Acid to Open Pores

If you have fair skin, especially if you have oily skin, then you may benefit a great deal from using salicylic acid to open pores. The first thing to know about choosing a salicylic acid product to treat your skin is that it has to be sufficiently acidic to break down fats and open pores. This means that the product has to have a pH of about 4 or lower. It has to be acidic enough that it is likely to sting.

Higher pH products won’t sting, but they won’t open pores, either.

The next thing to look for in a salicylic acid product is the right concentration. Too much salicylic acid can burn the skin. Too little salicylic acid won’t open pores. Most products that work provide 1% to 3% of this ingredient, possibly as little as 0.5%, but never more than 3% (unless treating warts).

Salicylic acid in a face wash won’t help your skin, because you rinse it off almost as soon as you put it on. Salicylic acid in a powder is not at the right pH to have any effect on skin. Only salicylic acid in the form of a gel that stays on the skin will do any good, but it is essential not to leave the product on the skin any longer than directed, to remove it as directed, and not to use the produce around the eyes.

What Are Some Salicylic Acid Products That Work?

Ineffective salicylic acid products are easy to find, but it takes some effort to find products that work. Some good beta-hydroxy acid exfoliants include:

*Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment (best for oily or “combination” skin)
*Paula’s Choice 1% Beta-Hydroxy Acid Gel (for all skin types)
*Jan Marini Factor-A Plus Mask (for normal to dry skin)
*Clinique Skin Conditioning Treatment (for normal to dry skin)
*And many other choices in the US $75 to $300 range.

If you are on a budget, at US $8 Neutrogena is your best choice among the drugstore brands, and at US $20 Paula’s Choice is your best choice among the cosmetic counter brands.


Salicylic acid can be use alone for moderate acne, and mixed with a stronger acne treatment for severe ones.

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