Salicylic acid is an active ingredient in some nonprescription acne treatments. When you apply it to your skin, it dries up whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. It also causes the top layer of your skin to peel.
Products that contain salicylic acid may cause tingling and a mild redness of the skin. Use them less often if you notice that your skin becomes very red or very dry.
You'll find salicylic acid mainly in pads that you rub on your skin. Brand names include Stridex and Noxzema pads.