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Salicylic acid is a common acne medication found in over the counter treatments. It uses beta hydroxy acid to break down debris that clogs pores and open up the skin to overall healthier growth. When applying an acne treatment that uses salicylic acid as an active ingredient, consider these usage steps and possible side effects.
Choose your Strength
Before applying a salicylic acid acne treatment, consider the dosage you need. Typical acne products contain a dosage of this ingredient ranging from 0.5% to 2%. If you only experience light acne, you should use something with a lighter dosage. For persistent acne, consider a treatment with a higher amount of salicylic acid in it. When making your choice, also consider the instructions on the product. A typical product is only applied once per day. If your product requires multiple uses per day and you have sensitive skin or are using other acne medications, you may want to consider an alternative.
Apply to the Entire Face
Wash your face thoroughly with a moisturizing soap or other cleanser that is free of alcohol. Once your face is clean and dry, apply the salicylic acid acne treatment over the entire area. Typically, this will involve passing an acne pad over your face or rubbing cream on with a clean finger. While more concentrated treatments sometimes involve focusing only the the affected area, rub the salicylic acid over the entire face. This will eliminate oils before they build up and become acne. Be sure to pay special attention to the corner of your nostrils and other areas that are hard to reach normally while washing your face.
Be Aware of Side Effects
The most common side effect of this kind of acne treatment is irritation and dryness of the skin. Keep an eye out for white flakes of skin or redness around your acne, which may indicate that you are experiencing these effects. They can be prevented by using a facial moisturizer, but be sure that you do not use one with an oil base. Oil-based moisturizers will clog pores and lead to acne problems down the road. If you experience more severe effects such as a painful stinging, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional before going on.
Rinsing After Application
It is okay to wash your face after using salicylic acid, but be sure to give the medication time to work first. Waiting an hour is usually appropriate. Wash as you do prior to using the treatment with a mild cleanser, and spend extra time during the rinse process. It is worth noting that unlike harsher treatments, most products that use salicylic acid as an active ingredient do not require rinsing afterward, so giving your face an extra wash is completely optional.
For mild or recurring acne, salicylic acid is the best way to put an end to the bothersome condition. Almost anybody can benefit from the medication, and a typical product is mild enough to keep side effects to a minimum. If you have acne problems, this treatment will make them a thing of the past.