A review of toxicity from topical salicylic acid preparations

  • Raman K. Madan
    Beth Israel Medical Center, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, New York

    Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
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  • Jacob Levitt
    Reprint requests: Jacob Levitt, MD, Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 5 E 98th St, 5th Floor, Box 1048, New York, NY 10029.
    Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
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Published:January 27, 2014DOI:
      Topical salicylic acid is often used in dermatologic conditions because of its keratolytic, bacteriostatic, fungicidal, and photoprotective properties. The bioavailability of salicylic acid differs depending on the vehicle used and pH of transcellular fluids. Although rare, salicylic acid toxicity (salicylism) can occur from topical application. Physicians should be mindful of the potential for salicylism or even death from topically applied salicylic acid.

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        Journal of the American Academy of DermatologyVol. 71Issue 1
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          Madan RK, Levitt J. A review of toxicity from topical salicylic acid preparations. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70:788-92.
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