Salicylic acid (sal-i-SILL-ik AS-id) is also known as 2-hydroxybenzoic acid. It melts at 159º C. You can dissolve it in ethanol and ether. It is only slightly soluble in water.

Salicylic acid is applied topically to treat many types of skin conditions, including acne, dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis of the skin and scalp, calluses, corns, common warts, and plantar warts. The strength of the acid solution to be applied varies depending on the condition to be treated. It can be applied as a cream, gel, lotion, ointment, pad, plaster, shampoo, soap, or topical solution.

A common side effect of salicylic acid use is, not surprisingly, skin irritation. When applying it, keep it away from your eyes and mucus membranes. Never ingest it. After applying it, remember to wash your hands before rubbing your eyes. Overdose of salicylic acid can cause confusion, dizziness, headache, rapid breathing, or a ringing or buzzing in your ears.

Other ways salicylic acid is useful:

Salicylic acid can be found in the bark of the willow tree.
beta hydroxy acid is best for white heads and more oily skin types. If your acne tend to be filled with puss or water use beta hydroxy acid -- on the other hand if you tend to get very small black heads then salicylic acid is the way to go. It works by helping your skin to break down dead cells that tend to block your pores and cause the problem. When you wash your face the dead skin is whisked away and over a week or so nasty clusters of black heads vanish. I've been prone to pimples all my life. When I was in my teens beta hydroxy acid (found in oxey) worked best. Now I use salicylic acid now and then. As a rule most people who still have black heads in to their 20s and 30s will find salicylic acid is better.

The good thing abour having acne in your 20s and 30s is the fact that when you are 50, 60 or even 70 you will have fewer wrinkles.. oily skin is not a curse! (only to the young, but just wait!)

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