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Rescue Series 1 Salicyclic Acid To The Rescue


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Acne is a term used for plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent. However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s - even into their 40s can get acne.

There are a lot of acne treatments available. These treatments are tailored to attack the various causes of acne. It might therefore be necessary to use 2 types of treatment.

Acne treatments include the use of Salicylic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Antibiotics, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, Adapalene, Herbal Remedies, Antioxidants/Vitamins, Contraceptives. Personally I don't advise the use of antibiotics because of resistance of the bacteria to the antibiotics. However this article is all about Salicylic acid, its good and bad effects.

Salicyclic acid, a natural derivative of willow bark is recommended for acne, wrinkles, psoriasis or eczema. It is a product of the hydrolysis (addition of water) of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) that is too toxic for the intestine/body. This is why aspirin is not formulated in liquid form (If you didn't know; NOW you do). It is a mild acid that works as a keratolytic agent (it encourages the sloughing of dead skin cells). It is an effective treatment for oily skin.

It acts by encouraging the peeling of the top layer of the skin and causes the opening of plugged follicles which helps to re-establish the normal skin-cell replacement cycle. It however has no effect on the production of sebum or on the presence of bacteria. It acts on mild acne by unclogging pores to resolve and prevent lesions. It must however be used continuously even after your acne lesions have healed because its effects will stop when you stop using it.

The approved range of salicylic acid concentrations for acne treatment is 0.5% - 2%. It can be found in many “over-the-counter" acne products. These products range from lotions, astringents, soaked pads, exfoliants, masks, creams, gels, soaps. Remember to always read the label carefully of any product you wish to purchase and follow the instructions for proper use so that you can obtain the best results.

SIDE EFFECTS: As with all drugs, there are the good effects and there are the bad effects also known as side effects. Salicylic acid is known to cause dryness. Some people experience dryness of the skin even with the lowest concentration. It is therefore advisable to start with the lowest concentration if you have never used salicylic acid before so as to determine if your skin would experience dryness. You can apply a light oil-free moisturizer to relieve the dryness. Another side effect is skin irritation. If you experience mild irritation, try decreasing the frequency of use. If it is severe however, please discontinue the use of the product.

PRECAUTIONS: You can prevent the side effects of dryness and irritation if you are careful as not to use other products that can enhance the keratolytic properties of salicylic acid. Such products include Abrasive soaps or cleansers, Alcohol-containing preparations, Any other topical acne preparation or preparation containing a peeling agent (benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, sulfur, or tretinoin [vitamin A acid]), Cosmetics or soaps that dry the skin, Medicated cosmetics and Other topical skin medicine.

CAUTION: If you wish to become pregnant and are using a salicylic acid based product, I advice you to see your doctor as salicylic acid may be absorbed through the skin.

So if you are convinced about the benefits of salicylic acid and want to give it a try, good for you. All you have to lose is your acne. Rescue series is all about acne treatments both the topically applied and drugs that can be consumed to help fight acne. So watch out for more articles dedicated to helping you get rid of your acne.

If you need to learn more about acne treatments, you can check out my blogs or

You would also get to know about my struggle with keeping my face and chest acne free. Hope you enjoy all my postings.


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