Salicylic acid is used on the skin to treat psoriasis and other dry, scaly skin conditions. This medication is also used to help remove dead skin from warts, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. It belongs to the same class of drugs as aspirin (salicylates). This medication should not be used by children younger than 2 years.Salicylic acid causes the skin to shed dead cells from its top layer by increasing the amount of moisture in the skin and dissolving the "cement" between the cells. This makes it easier to shed the skin cells, softens the top layer of skin, and decreases scaling and dryness.
How to use salicylic acid topical
For best results, soak the skin area in warm water for at least 5 minutes before using this medication. After soaking, gently wipe off any loose skin with a clean, soft cloth. Do not rub. Apply a thin film of medication to the affected area, once daily at bedtime or as directed by your doctor. Cover the area loosely if directed by your doctor. When you wake up, gently wash off the medication. Wash hands after use, unless you are using this medication to treat the hands.
If you are using the foam, shake the can well before using. Before using a new can, prime the container by pressing down for 3 to 5 seconds until foam appears. Spray the foam onto the hand, then apply. After applying the foam, gently rub it in until it disappears.
Moisture is very important to help the medication work, so your doctor may direct you to cover the treated area to help hold moisture next to the skin. Do not cover the area with ointment, plastic/waterproof bandages, tight-fitting clothing, or tight dressings unless directed by your doctor. Doing so may increase side effects. If you are treating an area that is difficult to cover, your doctor may direct you to moisten the skin with wet packs or baths or to use the medication more frequently. Use exactly as prescribed.
This medication may be used on the body, the scalp, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. Avoid your eyes, nostrils, mouth, and genitals. If contact occurs, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes. Be careful when applying this medication because it can irritate normal skin around the treated area.
Do not use large amounts, apply it more often, or use it for a longer time than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but the chance for side effects may be increased.
You will usually see some improvement in 2 to 3 days, but it may take longer to get the full benefit. Once your skin has improved, your doctor may direct you to use this product only occasionally or to stop using it. Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor 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.
People who use this drug for a long time or over large areas of skin may rarely have serious side effects caused by this drug entering the bloodstream. Children younger than 12 years and people with liver or kidney problems are more at risk. Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: unexplained nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, rapid breathing, dizziness, hearing problems (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), mental/mood changes, tiredness.
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 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using salicylic acid, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to aspirin; 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.
Children may be at greater risk for rare side effects from absorbing this medication into the bloodstream. (See Side Effects for more information.) This drug is similar to aspirin. Children and teenagers younger than 18 years should not use this drug if they have chickenpox, flu, or any undiagnosed illness or if they have recently received a vaccine. In these cases, this drug may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
During pregnancy, this product should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this product passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Avoid getting this medication on clothing, wood, plastic, metal, or other surfaces because it can cause damage.
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. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from heat and light. 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.
Store the foam canister upright at room temperature. Do not freeze. Do not store at temperatures above 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). The contents of this canister are under pressure. Do not burn or puncture the canister.
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.
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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.