You may find salicylic acid in both prescription and non prescription (common referred to as over the counter) compounds. The medication is used in topical treatments, should not be ingested (taken orally) and can help a variety of skin conditions: acne, calluses, corns, common warts, plantar warts, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis of both the skin and scalp.
Of these, acne and seborrheic dermatitis are both closely associated with the skins oil production and blockages that arise from overproduction of natural oils.
Treatment of the various conditions is through different application compounds and strengths, according to the condition. The acid is an active ingredient in many different types of compounds: creams, gels, liquids, lotions, ointments, pads, pastes, shampoos, and soaps. It is important to follow instructions given with the product (or doctors instructions if prescribed). Pay attention to the warning labels and discontinue use if the listed warning signs develop. The federal government has the following guidelines to consider when using this medication:
Tell your doctor is you have had and reactions to salicylic acid or if you have had adverse reactions to preservatives or dyes which may be used in the compound.
Do not use if you are pregnant. Animal studies have shown a correlation between use of this medication and birth defects. This is linked to dosage amount and total area of the body to which the medication is applied. However, in the animal studies, the medication was given orally at an incredibly high dosage.
Talk to your doctor about breast-feeding while using this medication.
Use in children should be monitored by your pediatrician or dermatologist. Skin irritation is more likely in children and is absorbed more readily through childrens skin. Covering large areas or covering areas of application should not be done when used on children. This medication is not recommended for use on children under 2 years old.
When using on elderly patients, a doctor should monitor carefully because of the possibility that the patient may have age related blood vessel disease.
As always, make sure your doctor knows about all other medications being used to avoid possible drug interactions.
Make sure that the prescribing doctor knows if you have any of the following medical conditions: Blood Vessel Disease, Chicken Pox, Diabetes, Flu, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, and Skin Disorders (such as, but not limited to, eczema and psoriasis).
You need to be careful about what you do to your skin while using this medication. The following list should be adhered to in order to reduce the chance of severe skin irritation:
Do not exfoliate.
Do not use toners (or other products) which contain alcohol.
Do not use compounds which contain peeling agents (alpha hydroxy acids are peeling agents).
Do not use other topical medications, including acne medications.
Do not use products which dry the skin.
Do not use medicated cosmetics.
The following list of warning signs should be referred to your doctor immediately as they can be signs of salicylate toxicity (especially in young children people who have kidney or liver problems):
Headache (severe, chronic)
Loss of hearing
Tinnitus (constant ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears)
If you miss a dose of this medication, you can apply it as soon as your remember, as long as it is not time for your next dose. If your next dose is to be applied soon, just skip the missed dose and resume proper dosing of this medication.
Avoidance of mild to severe side effects from this medication is best achieved through carefully following dosage instructions, whether the instructions come from your doctor or they come from labeling. It is important that you do not use more than is recommended in each dose or use the medication more often than is recommended.
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