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Drug Information

What is Salicylic Acid used for?

Salicylic Acid topical is used for the treatment of common skin conditions, such as psoriasis and ichthyosis. It is also used for the treatment of foot (plantar) warts and removal of corns and calluses.

Salicylic Acid face wash/soap is used to treat acne.

Salicylic Acid may also be prescribed for other conditions as determined by the doctor.

How does Salicylic Acid work?

Salicylic Acid belongs to the class of drugs called keratolytic and anti-inflammatory agents. It provides anti-fungal action by softening and exfoliating the skin and clearing up the plugged follicles. Thus, it inhibits the growth of the fungus.

How to use Salicylic Acid?

The dosage and the drug form depend on the age, weight and medical condition of an individual. Use Salicylic Acid as prescribed by your doctor.

  • Wash and dry the affected area and then apply a thin layer of Salicylic Acid topical to the affected area and rub gently.
  • Use Salicylic Acid soap/face wash as per the directions provided on the leaflet.
  • Wash and dry the affected area and place the Salicylic Acid patch over the plantar wart, callus or corns. Gently apply pressure on the patch to make sure it is firmly attached. The patch should be smooth with no folds or bumps.

What are the drugs that interact with Salicylic Acid?

Drugs that interact with Salicylic Acid include the following:

  • Alitretinoin
  • Clindamycin
  • Fluocinolone
  • Isotretinoin
  • Tazarotene
  • Tretinoin

This is not a comprehensive list of drug interactions. Consult your doctor to know more about other possible drug interactions.

What are the side effects of Salicylic Acid?

The following are the most common side effects of Salicylic Acid:

  • Skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Dry skin
  • Stinging in the area of application

The following are the severe side effects, and you may require immediate medical attention:

  • Severe burning
  • Skin peeling
  • Pruritis

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

What special precautions should be followed while using Salicylic Acid?

  • Avoid using the medicine if you are allergic to Salicylic Acid or similar drugs.
  • Avoid accidental contact of Salicylic Acid with eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Do not apply Salicylic Acid over sunburned skin, cuts, wounds and bruises.
  • Do not exceed the dose more than prescribed.
  • Keep the medication out of reach of children.
  • Do not store Salicylic Acid near an open flame or direct heat.
  • Avoid using the Salicylic Acid over the healthy skin.

You are advised not to use Salicylic Acid if

  • it has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
  • the foil or packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering, or there is discolouration.

What should you tell your doctor before using Salicylic Acid?

  • Tell your doctor if you have any history of diabetes or blood disorders.
  • Inform your doctor if you are allergic to Salicylic Acid similar drugs.
  • Inform the doctor if you are using any other drugs, OTC medications, herbal products or nutritional supplements.

Frequently asked questions about Salicylic Acid

  1. Can Salicylic Acid be used to treat warts on the face?
  2. No. Salicylic Acid is not recommended to treat warts on the face. Please consult your doctor.

  3. Can I apply cosmetics while using Salicylic Acid?
  4. Skin care cosmetics may contain alcohol, which may interact with Salicylic Acid. Therefore, consult a doctor before using any cosmetics while using Salicylic Acid.

  5. Does Salicylic Acid cause dryness of skin?
  6. Yes. Dryness of skin is one of the common side effects of Salicylic Acid.

  7. Is it safe to use Salicylic Acid for treating dandruff?
  8. Yes. Salicylic Acid is safe for treating dandruff when recommended by the doctor.

  9. What are the other formulations of Salicylic Acid available?
  10. Salicylic Acid is also available as shampoo, cream, liquid, topical films and compounding powder.


The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Please seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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