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How should I use salicylic acid?

Over-the-counter salicylic acid is usually supplied as a lotion, cream, cloth, wipe, patch, ointment, pad or gel that you apply to your skin. Doses and numbers of applications differ among products, so follow package directions carefully. Apply the preparation to the affected area only, and avoid skin that is cut, scratched or irritated. Also, avoid sensitive areas like your mouth, nose, eyes, lips, inside the nose, genitals and anal areas. Avoid moles or birthmarks also. Gels can be gently rubbed in for several minutes, while pads may be wiped over the affected area only once. Plaster casts for warts may be left on for 24 hours or more. Shampoos and soaps will require mixing with water. Always follow the instructions supplied with the product, and be sure to wash your hands after applying. Some people find that salicylic acid treatments cause dryness. They may wish to apply the product less often at first, gradually increasing amounts over time. The full effect of the treatment may not be seen for several weeks.   

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.