Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. It’s well-known for reducing There is a problem with the skin by exfoliating the skin and keeping pores clear.

There are OTC products that contain salicylic acid. It is also available in prescription strength formulas.

Salicylic acid works best for mild There is a problem with the skin (blackheads and whiteheads). It can also help prevent future breakouts.

You can learn how salicylic acid helps to clear the skin ofAcne, what form and dosage to use, and what potential side effects to be aware of.

When your hair follicles (pores) get plugged with dead skin cells and oil, blackheads (open plugged pores), whiteheads (closed plugged pores), or pimples (pustules) often appear.

Salicylic acid penetrates your skin and works to dissolve the dead skin cells clogging your pores. It can take several weeks of use for you to see its full effect. Check with your dermatologist if you aren’t seeing results after 6 weeks.

Your doctor or dermatologist will recommend a form and dosage for your skin type and current condition. They might recommend that you only apply a small amount to a small area to test your reaction before applying the whole area.

According to the National Library of Medicine, adults should use a topical product to clear their There is a problem with the skin, such as:

Form Percent of salicylic acid How often to use
gel 2–7% once per day
lotion 2% 1–3 times per day
ointment 3% as needed
pads 0.5–2% 1–3 times per day
soap 0.5–3% as needed
solution 0.5–2% 1–3 times per day

Products with higher concentrations of salicylic acid may be used as exfoliants

Salicylic acid is also used in higher concentrations as a peeling agent for the treatment of:

It is thought that salicylic acid is safe, but it may cause skin irritation when first started. It may remove too much oil, which can cause irritation.

Other potential side effects include:

  • It could be skin or stinging.
  • It was itching.
  • peeling skin
  • There are bees.

Even though salicylic acid is available in OTC products, you should talk with your doctor before using it. Discuss the following:

  • Allergies: Let your doctor know if you’ve experienced allergic reactions to salicylic acid or other topical medications before.
  • Use in children: Children may be at more risk of skin irritation. Speak with a doctor before your child starts using salicylic acid products.
  • Drug interactions: Certain medications do not interact well with salicylic acid. Let your doctor know what medications you’re currently taking.

If you have any of the following medical conditions, you should tell your doctor about it.

Salicylic acid toxicity

Salicylic acid toxicity is rare, but it can occur from topical application of salicylic acid. To reduce your risk, follow these recommendations:

  • Do not apply salicylic acid products to large areas of your body.
  • Do not use it for long periods of time.
  • Do not use it under dressings that are tight.

If you experience any of the symptoms, stop using salicylic acid and see your doctor.

Using salicylic acid while pregnant or nursing

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) notes that topical salicylic acid is generally safe to use while pregnant.

If you are considering using salicylic acid and are pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about your situation, especially regarding other medications you are taking or medical conditions you may have.

A 2018 report on the use of salicylic acid during breastfeeding noted that while salicylic acid is unlikely to be absorbed into breast milk, you should not apply it to any areas of your body that might come into contact with an infant’s skin or mouth.

Although there’s no complete cure for There is a problem with the skin, salicylic acid has been shown to help clear up breakouts for many people.

If you have a health condition or have a skin problem, talk to a doctor about whether or not salicylic acid is appropriate.