About Salicylic Acid Acne Treatments
Salicylic acid treatments can be applied to the face to reduce the appearance of acne-related pimples and bumps. When applied to the skin, salicylic acid helps to unplug the pores, freeing them from dirt and oil. While salicylic acid offers many benefits to those with acne, it also can cause skin dryness or irritation--making it important to pair salicylic acid with the right moisturizing products.
Salicylic acid is a form of beta hydroxy acid acid, which refers to its chemical makeup. Salicylic acid can be made from the bark of the willow tree and is similar in chemical makeup to the active ingredient in aspirin. Salicylic acid has a keratolytic effect when applied to the skin. This means that salicylic acid can clear the dead skin cells that can clump together and cause acne and well as prevent skin follicles from shedding that can cause clog the pores and cause acne.
Salicylic acid is found in many types of products for acne treatment. These include in gels, pads, liquids, lotions and face washes. Some common products on today's skincare market that contain salicylic acid include Stri-dex, Salac, Palmer's Skin Success Acne Cleanser and Mediplast, according to the Mayo Clinic. Salicylic acid also has positive effects in the treatment of psoriasis, calluses, dandruff, corns and warts, according to Acne.org.
The use of salicylic acid depends upon the type of product used. For example, a gel spot treatment, which is used to treat a specific blemish, typically has a higher concentration of salicylic acid. For this type of treatment, you should gently dab--not smear--a small amount onto the blemish and allow it to air dry. Do not wipe the treatment off. For less intense concentrations, such as creams or lotions, these can be gently massaged into the skin and should not be wiped off following application. For face washes, you can work a lather up on a washcloth or facial sponge or simply use your hands. This wash should be rinsed off.
Salicylic acid can cause dryness or irritation when applied to the skin, according to Medline Plus. This is especially true for stronger concentrations of salicylic acid products. If you experience excessive redness or irritation, try using less product, applying a moisturizer to the skin or using the product less frequently. If redness still occurs, you may wish to discontinue use.
You also should not apply salicylic acid to areas that are already broken, irritated, infected or swollen, according to Medline Plus.
Salicylic acid can negatively interact with certain medications, including warfarin, anisindione, nadroparin, phenindione and probenecid. If you are pregnant, consult your physician to ensure you can safely use salicylic acid for acne treatment.
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