What is salicylic acid topical?
Salicylic acid is a keratolytic (peeling agent). Salicylic acid causes shedding of the outer layer of skin.
Salicylic acid topical (for the skin) is used in the treatment of acne, dandruff, seborrhea, or psoriasis, and to remove corns, calluses, and warts.
Salicylic acid topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about salicylic acid topical?
Salicylic acid topical can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using salicylic acid topical?
You should not use salicylic acid topical if you are allergic to it.
Do not give this medication to a child or teenager with a fever, flu symptoms, or chicken pox. Salicylic acid can cause Reye's syndrome, a serious and sometimes fatal condition in children.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have other medical conditions, especially:
It is not known whether salicylic acid topical will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether salicylic acid topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
This medicine should not be used on a child younger than 2 years old.
How should I use salicylic acid topical?
Salicylic acid topical is available in many different forms, such as liquid, gel, lotion, cream, ointment, foam, soap, shampoo, cloth pads, and skin patches. Use the medicine exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Salicylic acid topical can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Before you start using this medicine, you may choose to apply a "test dose" to see if you have a reaction. Apply a very small amount of the medicine to 1 or 2 small acne areas every day for 3 days in a row. If there is no reaction, begin using the full prescribed amount on the 4th day.
Do not take this medicine by mouth. It is for use only on your skin.
Gently clean and dry the affected area. When treating warts or calluses, you may gently remove any loose tissue with a soft brush, wash cloth, or nail file. Soak the skin for 5 minutes before applying the medicine.
You may need to shake the foam or lotion before use. Follow all directions on the product label.
Cut the skin patch to fit the area you are treating. Follow all directions on your medication label about how long to wear the skin patch.
Use salicylic acid topical regularly to get the most benefit. It may take up to several days before your symptoms improve.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using salicylic acid topical.
Do not use salicylic acid topical to treat any skin condition that has not been checked by your doctor.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep the foam canister away from open flame or high heat. The canister may explode if it gets too hot. Do not puncture or burn an empty aerosol canister.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What should I avoid while using salicylic acid topical?
Wart remover medicine may be flammable. Do not use near high heat or open flame such as a burning candle. Wash the medicine off your hands before handling a hair styling appliance (such as a curling or straightening iron). High heat could cause the medicine to ignite and burn your skin.
Do not smoke until the gel has completely dried on your skin.
Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. If this does happen, rinse with water. Do not use the medicine on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with salicylic acid topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Salicylic acid topical side effects
Salicylic acid topical can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. These reactions may occur just a few minutes after you apply the medicine, or within a day or longer afterward.
Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using salicylic acid topical and call your doctor at once if you have:
severe headache, ringing in your ears, problems with hearing, thinking problems;
severe stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
shortness of breath; or
severe burning, dryness, or irritation of the skin.
Common side effects may include:
minor skin irritation, rash, or peeling; or
changes in the color of treated skin (usually whitening).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
What other drugs will affect salicylic acid topical?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied salicylic acid. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.