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Friday, August 21, 2009

What is Salicylic Acid?

Do you know what salicylic acid is? You hear it bandied about every so often but I'm sure you're like me in that you probably don't know exactly what it is. For instance, I knew it's in my facial cleansers and toners but other than that, I really had no reason to find out more about it.

Well the other day, as my teenage daughter was thumbing through one of her magazines, she casually asked, What is salicylic acid anyway? She was reading about various ways to take care of her skin and cure acne. Not that she has an acne problem or anything, the girl has beautiful skin! But she's just into that age where she's more conscious about taking care of her body including her skin.

Anyway, thanks to Google, I found out that salicylic acid removes dead skin thus preventing pores to get clogged with all the debris. That's why the component is also found in dandruff shampoos and products that treat dry skin, and other skin problems like warts, corns and calluses.

Salicylic acid is just as the name implies, an acid. It works by degrading the dead skin and removing them from the surface. As with any acids, you have to be careful when using any product that has this ingredient. I recommend trying it out first before committing to long term use. For instance, when my other daughter was in kindergarten, she developed a round patch on her cheek that her internist deemed to be ring worm. He recommended applying a brand of dandruff shampoo to the area to cure ring worm.

Even though the guy was almost a doctor, I should have been more wary because rather than eliminating just the ringworm, the shampoo burned her delicate skin and caused it to scab. Not really bad, but it looked worse at the time. I didn't take into consideration how potent the dandruff shampoo was and how delicate her young skin was. It probably would have worked just fine for an adult or an older kid, but not for someone so young.

So yeah, salicylic acid has it's uses and works quite well when used properly. Just consider what or whom you're using it on.

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