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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

salicylic acid topical

Pronunciation: SAL i SIL ik AS id TOP ik al

Brand: Acnevir, Bensal HP, CeraVe SA Renewing, Compound W, DermalZone, Dermarest Psoriasis Skin Treatment, Dr Scholl's Clear Away Wart Remover, Dr Scholl's Corn Removers, Freezone Corn Remover, Keralyt, Mediplast, Salex, Scalpicin Scalp Relief, Stri-Dex, Wart Remover

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 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.

There are many brands and forms of salicylic acid available. Not all brands are listed on this leaflet.

Salicylic acid topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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 use this medicine on a child or teenager who has a fever, flu symptoms, or chickenpox. Salicylates applied to the skin and absorbed into the bloodstream can cause Reye's syndrome, a serious and sometimes fatal condition in children.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have:

  • liver or kidney disease;
  • diabetes; or
  • blood circulation problems.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

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 exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

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 by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

You may need to shake the medicine before use. Follow all directions on the product label.

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.

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 medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of salicylic acid is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using salicylic acid topical?

Do not use on open wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry, or irritated skin. Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes or mouth.

This medicine may be flammable. Do not use near high heat or open flame. 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 using other medications on the areas you treat with salicylic acid topical unless your doctor tells you to.

What are the possible side effects of salicylic acid topical?

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.

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

What other drugs will affect salicylic acid topical?

Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. 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.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about salicylic acid topical.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2019 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.04. Revision date: 4/17/2019.

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