Salicylic Acid Acne Medication
Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in medications for various skin problems, including acne. It is safe and effective for most acne sufferers when used as directed, according to the National Institutes of Health. It tends to treat the acne successfully because it works on the skin in several different ways. This trait is also what makes it useful for other conditions.
Salicylic acid is a keratolytic, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. This means it acts as a peeling agent when applied to the skin. The outer layer will peel away, which can be beneficial for a variety of dermatological conditions. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an effective acne-fighting ingredient. Acne.com, an information website, states that glycolic acid acts in a similar way but it does not have FDA approval.
Salicylic acne is the active ingredient in many acne-fighting product, but the National Institutes of Health explains that it is used for many other skin conditions as well. It is commonly used to treat warts, and it is also used for psoriasis, dandruff, calluses and corns.
Salicylic acid works well as a topical acne treatment because it unplugs skin pores that have been blocked by oily deposits and dead skin cells, according to NIH. It brings down swelling and reduces the redness caused by acne outbreaks. Also slows down skin cell shedding in the hair follicles to prevent future outbreaks, and it helps break down existing whiteheads and blackheads.
Topical salicylic acid medications can take many forms. NIH states it can be purchased in creams, gels, liquids and lotions. It is also available on wipes or pads. These products contain a concentration of 2 percent. You can choose the form that is most convenient for you because they are all effective. For example, some people would rather apply a cream to their pimples while others like to use pre-medicated pads.
Salicylic is a safe acne treatment, but NIH warns it can dry out the skin and cause irritation when you first use it. This lessens over time, but you can often prevent it by using less of your product of choice when you first start the treatment. Work your way gradually up to more frequent applications when your skin has adjusted to the salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid can cause a mild stinging sensation even when used correctly and warns that it should not be combined with other common acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and resorcinol.
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