Salicylic Acid

How to Treat Salicylic Acid Rash

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Salicylic acid is a chemical derived from willow tree bark that’s used in a variety of products, from acne treatments to dandruff shampoos.

It’s also one of the main ingredients in aspirin.

The rash that results from using salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) can be caused by many factors, including your skin type, the concentration of salicylic acid in the product you’re using, and how long it has been since you last washed off this ingredient.

If you’re prone to developing rashes easily or have sensitive skin, there are steps you can take both before and after applying salicylic acid to help decrease your chances of getting an unpleasant reaction.

How to Treat Salicylic Acid Rash

Here are ways you can treat salicylic acid rash:

1. Cool down your skin

If you have salicylic acid rash on your face, try putting ice packs on the affected area.

Keep in mind that this will only help if you’re not also sensitive to cold temperatures.

If you are, stick with warm compresses instead.

You can also take an over-the-counter painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce swelling and discomfort.

2. Moisturize frequently

Flaky skin is one of the most common side effects of salicylic acid use, so it’s important to keep your skin hydrated at all times during and after treatment.

Avoid soap-based cleansers and moisturizers that contain alcohol or fragrance because these ingredients can irritate sensitive skin even further.

Instead, opt for creamy formulas that don’t contain any alcohol or fragrance and apply them right after cleansing with a gentle cleanser like CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

3. Reduce Your Dose

If you notice redness around the affected area shortly after applying a salicylic acid treatment on your skin, reduce the strength of this medication by applying it less frequently or reducing the amount applied per application (e.g., apply half of what’s recommended).

4. Use a hydrocortisone cream

Use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and itching.

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can help soothe irritated skin while also reducing swelling and redness.

5. Apply cold compresses to reduce inflammation

If you notice that your rash is particularly inflamed or red in color, applying cold compresses can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the affected area of the skin.

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You can use cold compresses for about 20 minutes at a time.

6. Stop using products containing salicylic acid

Stop using products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide until the rash clears up.

If you’re not sure what ingredients are in your beauty products, check their labels or ask your health care provider for advice on which brands might be safe for your skin.

What is a Salicylic Acid Rash?

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in many skin care products and is found naturally in plants like willow trees.

Salicylic acid rash is the result of using too much salicylic acid on your skin, which can cause dryness and irritation.

Why Does Salicylic Acid Cause a Rash?

Salicylic acid is an acidic chemical, and the skin is naturally slightly acidic.

The skin’s barrier function also helps protect it from being too harsh.

When salicylic acid comes into contact with your skin, it can cause a mild irritation that leads to a rash.

This is especially true if you have sensitive or dry skin.

The rash might seem like an odd side effect of using a product with salicylic acid in it—after all, shouldn’t your skin be able to handle being exposed to such an active ingredient?

The problem lies in the fact that this ingredient isn’t intended for daily use on its own: products containing salicylic acid should always be used in combination with other ingredients (such as moisturizing agents) so that they don’t irritate their users’ delicate facial tissue more than necessary.

If you’re not following instructions closely enough, however, then the risk of developing a rash becomes higher because there are no counterbalancing ingredients present to act as buffers against irritation caused by high levels of salicylic acid exposure over time!

What Are the Symptoms of Salicylic Acid Rash?

Here are some symptoms of salicylic acid rash:

1. Redness of the skin.

2. Swelling of the affected area.

3. Painful blisters that may be filled with fluid or pus (pustules).

4. Dryness or cracking of the skin around blisters or other rashes caused by salicylic acid use (eczema).

5. Scaly, flaky patches on the skin that resemble dandruff and can’t be easily removed by brushing or scratching (seborrheic dermatitis).

6. Cracked lips caused by overuse of lip balm containing salicylic acid (dermatitis).

7. Blisters surrounded by redness and irritation that looks like hives on your face (urticaria).

SEE ALSO:  Can You Use Salicylic Acid And Retinol At The Same Time?

How Can You Prevent Salicylic Acid Rashes?

Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, so you should use a non-oily cleanser that’s pH balanced to protect your skin from irritation and blemishes.

  • Use a moisturizer.

Moisturizing after cleansing will help to prevent dryness in the affected areas.

The sun can cause sunburns or light sensitivity in people who are using salicylic acid products, so you should apply sunscreen every day if you need to use it on an ongoing basis (which we recommend).

Who is Most Likely to Get a Salicylic Acid Rash?

The most common people who get a salicylic acid rash are those with sensitive skin.

Sensitive skin has been defined as “skin that is easily irritated and responds to every little thing.”

People with sensitive skin also often have rosacea, a condition characterized by reddening of the face, which is caused by inflammation of the facial blood vessels.

People allergic to aspirin or any products containing salicylates (e.g., sodium lauryl sulfate) are more likely than others to get a rash from using salicylic acid on their skin too frequently or in high concentrations.

These individuals should use low-concentration products and avoid doing so more than once per day if possible; they’ll still see results from using it twice daily.

Is a Salicylic Acid Rash Contagious?

The good news is that salicylic acid rashes are not contagious or a sign of infection.

A rash is not a sign of a bad reaction to salicylic acid.

A rash is not a sign of a bad reaction to the product you’re using with salicylic acid.

How Long Does the Rash From Salicylic Acid Last?

The rash from salicylic acid can last anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on your skin and how long you’ve been using the product.

If you keep using the product, the rash will continue to flare up until your body stops reacting to it.

Also, if you scratch at or rub the affected area (which most people do), then this will only make matters worse.

Finally, if left untreated or improperly treated, then your rash will last longer than one week and possibly be permanent!

Can You Put Moisturizer on Top of a Salicylic Acid Rash?

Moisturizer can help reduce the irritation of a salicylic acid rash. It will also help your skin heal faster and reduce the appearance of redness.

SEE ALSO:  Can You Use Salicylic Acid and Apple Cider Vinegar Together?

Moisturizers are especially helpful for treating salicylic acid rashes that are caused by dry skin, as they can temporarily hydrate the affected area while the salicylic acid is working to exfoliate it.

Some moisturizers contain ingredients that actually improve irritation from salicylic acid, such as:

  • Coconut oil or aloe vera
  • Shea butter (or shea butter products like body lotions)
  • Emu oil

Can You Use Cortisone on a Salicylic Acid Rash?

It can be tempting to use cortisone on a salicylic acid rash, but you should know that it’s not the best way to treat the condition.

This is because cortisone can cause an increase in skin cell turnover, which will make things even worse for you.

Instead of adding more irritation onto your already irritated skin, look into other options like tea tree oil or aloe vera gel.

Is It Safe to Use an Anti-itch Cream on a Salicylic Acid Rash?

It is safe to use an anti-itch cream on a salicylic acid rash, but you should be aware that some rashes may be caused by an allergic reaction to the salicylic acid.

If you experience any severe itching or swelling, contact your doctor immediately.

They will give recommendations for how to best treat your rash and determine what caused it in the first place.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Salicylic Acid Rash?

Any time you are concerned about a rash, it’s important to see a doctor.

Also, if the rash is not going away and getting worse, or if you have fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), then it’s time to visit your doctor.

If your rash is not on your face—and especially if it’s also accompanied by redness, pain, or irritation—you should check with a medical professional right away.

Final Thoughts

There are many possible causes of a rash, but salicylic acid is one of the most common.

If you have been using salicylic acid for acne treatment and suddenly notice a rash, it’s important to stop using the product immediately and go see your doctor.

You may also want to keep an anti-itch cream or cortisone cream on hand in case of any irritation while waiting for help from others.