Salicylic Acid

Innovator's Monograph

Indications

6% Salicylic Acid: This topical preparations treat the following common scaly conditions:
  • Chronic atopic dermatitis
  • Lichen simplex
  • Psoriasis 
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Ichthiosis
12% Salicylic Acid: This topical preparations treat the following common scaly conditions:
  • Warts (small excessive growths of skin caused by a type of virus. Warts often occur on the fingers or on the back of the hands).
  • Verruca (occurs only on the sole of the feet and can be painful. It often looks like a small white ring of skin with a black dot in the centre).
  • Corns and Calluses (are hard, thick pads of skin caused by pressure and friction. They usually occur on the feet due to poorly fitting shoes and can occur on the hands).

Therapeutic Class

Topical salicylic preparation

Pharmacology

Salicylic acid has a potent keratolytic action and a slight antiseptic action when applied topically. It softens and destroys the stratum corneum by increasing endogenous hydration which causes the horny layer of the skin to swell, soften, and then desquamate. At high concentrations, salicylic acid has a caustic effect. It also possesses weak antifungal and antibacterial activity.

Dosage & Administration

Topical/Cutaneous (Adult)-

Hyperkeratotic and scaling skin conditions: As 1.8-3% preparation: Apply to affected area of the skin and/or scalp 1-4 times daily.

Acne: As 0.5-2% preparation: Apply thinly to affected area 1-3 times daily, reduce to once daily or every other day if dryness or peeling occur.

Warts and calluses:
  • As 12-40% plaster: Fit over the wart/callus for 48 hr, repeat process 48 hrly as needed until wart/callus is removed (up to 12 wk for warts or up to 14 days for calluses).
  • As 5-17% preparation in collodion-like vehicle: Apply a small amount to sufficiently cover wart/callus and allow to dry. Repeat 1-2 times daily until wart/callus is removed (up to 12 wk for warts or up to 14 days for calluses).
  • As 15% preparation in karaya gum-glycol plaster vehicle: Smoothen warts with emery board and place a drop of warm water prior to application. Apply the plaster in the evening and leave in place for at least 8 hr to be removed in the morning. Repeat process 24 hrly, if necessary up to 12 wk.

Interaction

Do not use other topical preparations on the treated area unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. They may interfere with treatment or increase skin irritation.

Contraindications

It should not be used in any patient known to be sensitive to Salicylic Acid or any other listed ingredients.

Side Effects

An allergic reaction (shortness of breath, closing of the throat, swelling of the lips, face or tongue or hives) or severe skin irritation.

Pregnancy & Lactation

Pregnancy Category C. If used by nursing mothers, it should not be used on the chest area to avoid accidental contamination of the child.

Precautions

For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes and other mucous membranes.

Overdose Effects

An overdose of Salicylic Acid topical is unlikely to occur. If you do suspect an overdose or if the medication has been ingested, call a poison control center or emergency room for advice.

Use in Special Population

Salicylic Acid is used in children over 2 years.

Storage Conditions

Store at a temperature below 25° C.