Salicylic Acid Treatment: Is it Harmful or Safe?
With so many properties that help address mild to moderate acne, salicylic acid is undoubtedly an effective treatment component. However, like most chemical substances, it can pose health hazards if used without precautions. In high concentrations, it can cause chemical burns. When ingested, it leads to dangerous intoxication.
For some people, salicylic acid can cause dryness, irritation, or burning of the skin. It may also cause skin tingling, itching, and hives. When used too much, too often, or in high concentration, it can cause peeling of the skin. So, it is always recommended to start with lower concentrations to check how your skin would react to it.
Severe Side Effects
Those who have allergies to aspirin are likely to have allergic reactions to salicylic acid. But aside from these, severe side effects are very rare and are usually due to drug interactions or ingestion. Still, you must stop using salicylic acid if you experience any of these symptoms: headache, buzzing in the ears or hearing loss, lethargy, nausea, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, or hypernea.
Some cosmetic products and medications do not interact well with salicylic acid. You must tell your dermatologist if you are using products that contain benzoyl peroxide or topical antibiotics. Also provide a list of medications you’re taking if you have diabetes, chickenpox, flu, kidney disease, blood vessel disease, and liver disease.
Salicylic acid toxicity is rare but possible, so avoid using it for long periods of time in high doses. Also, do not apply it to large areas of your body. Make sure that it does not come into contact with broken skin and sensitive areas such as those around the groin, mouth, nose, and eyes.
The skin of children absorbs salicylic acid at a faster rate than adult skin, so be cautious when using it for your kids’ skin problems. If your kids are under the age of 2, avoid this completely.
Some doctors advise against the use of salicylic acid by pregnant and lactating women, especially if they have been using it for a while already. However, no studies have revealed any direct link between the use of topical salicylic acid and pregnancy complications. It is still believed to be safe for breastfeeding and pregnant women. If you’re breastfeeding, just make sure never to apply salicylic acid on skin that might come in contact with your infant’s skin or mouth.
While there are some ill-effects, salicylic acid is generally safe for topical use. If you’re unsure on how your skin will react to it, start with a product that contains less than 2% salicylic acid.