Skip to content
Drugs & Medications

salicylic acid topical

SALICYLIC ACID (FOR ACNE) - TOPICAL

Uses

This product is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It may be used in combination with other acne treatments. Check with your doctor or pharmacist first before combining acne treatments. Salicylic acid belongs to a class of drugs known as salicylates. When applied to the skin, salicylic acid may work by helping the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and by decreasing redness and swelling (inflammation). This decreases the number of pimples that form and speeds healing.

How to use salicylic acid topical

Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Before using this product for the first time, check if you are allergic to it. To check, put a small amount on one or two small areas of acne for three days. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using this product and get medical help right away (see the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the Side Effects section). If you don't have an allergic reaction, you can use the product.

This medication is for use on the skin only. To avoid irritation, do not let this medication come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, groin, or any broken skin (e.g., cuts, scrapes, rashes). If you do get the medication in those areas, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes.

If you are using a cream, lotion, solution, or gel, apply a thin film of the medication to the areas of your skin affected by acne, usually 1 to 2 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. If using the pads, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually 1 to 3 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Wash hands after use.

If using cleansers containing salicylic acid, wet the affected area. Gently rub the cleanser into the skin for 10 to 20 seconds. Do not scrub the skin. Work into a full lather and rinse thoroughly, and then pat dry. If too much drying occurs, you may need to rinse the cleanser off sooner or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further details.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not use large amounts, apply this drug more often, or use it for a longer period than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but the chance for side effects may be increased.

If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

Side Effects

Skin reactions such as peeling/burning/dry/reddened skin may occur, especially at the start of treatment. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. You may need to apply smaller amounts of the drug or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using salicylic acid, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: diabetes, poor circulation, skin problems (e.g., infection, wounds, atopic dermatitis).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

If you are using this product under your doctor's direction, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you use any of the following: other acne products used on the skin (e.g., benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics applied to the skin).

This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.

Overdose

This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

If this medication has been prescribed by your doctor, do not share this medication with others.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Information last revised July 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.

Images

CVS PORE UNCLOGGING 2% SCRUB
CVS PORE UNCLOGGING 2% SCRUB
View Larger Picture
color
green
shape
No data.
imprint
No data.
CVS PORE UNCLOGGING 2% SCRUB
CVS PORE UNCLOGGING 2% SCRUB

Identification

color
green
shape
No data.
imprint
No data.
This medicine is a green liquid.

Add to Cabinet

Add Adderall to my medicine cabinet.

Did you know?

With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.

Go to medicine cabinet

Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

More about Drugs and Medications

Newsletters

Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

  • WebMD Daily

    WebMD Daily

    Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

  • Men's Health

    Men's Health

    Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

  • Women's Health

    Women's Health

    Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices