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What is salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in many creams, lotions, and gels commonly used to treat or prevent acne, as well as other skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, warts, and even dandruff. Taken from plants like white willow bark or created in a laboratory, salicylic acid acts as a peeling agent, encouraging more frequent cell turnover. Known as a keratolytic drug, salicylic acid is used to treat acne breakouts by helping to reduce the buildup of oil, skin cells, and bacteria on the skin. Many products that contain salicylic acid (like many acne-fighting facial cleansers) can be purchased over-the-counter.

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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.