You are here:Home > Articles > Articles - Natural Health Information > Articles - General Health > Skin Health & Conditions > What is Salicylic Acid and How It Can Treat Eczema Skin

Using Salicylic Acid to Treat Eczema

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Imunocology states that eczema typically affects between 10 and 20 percent of children and roughly between one and three percent of adults. Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis and is a common childhood skin disorder. Often it disappears before adulthood but can sometimes affect adults too.

Treatment options for relieving eczema symptoms include self care, medications and allergy minimization. Eczema is not usually serious but open wounds can become infected.

Treating Eczema With Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a substance that can be used as a topical ointment or cream to treat dry, flaky skin disorders. It may be used by itself or in combination with other medications and treatments. It can be added to many different formula types including: creams, gels, lotions, ointments, shampoos and plasters. Concentrations of salicylic acid range from 0.5 percent to 30 percent.

Eczema can benefit from using salicylic acid to soften the skin protein called keratin. Salicylic acid helps to loosen dry, flaky sin and will remover the top layer of skin allowing other medications to penetrate more quickly.

Side Effects of Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid may cause mild skin irritation and more so if the skin is cracked or irritated.

As with all drugs, other side effects can occur and while they are not common it’s recommended to contact a doctor if any of the following occur:

  • severe skin irritation
  • flushing
  • unusual warmth and redness
  • salicylic acid poisoning: confusion, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, vomiting, rapid breathing, severe fatigue, buzzing in ears.
Pregnant or nursing mothers should not use salicylic acid as it absorbs into the skin and body. It is also not advised for children under two years of age.

What are Common Eczema Symptoms

Often, eczema appears behind the knees and on the arms. It can also appear anywhere on the body including face, neck and chest. Often eczema patches are red, bumpy, flaky, itchy and scaly. Fluid can also leak from the bumps if scratched and form a crust. This condition affects children more than adults, and most people outgrow childhood eczema.

Flare-ups happen occasionally and in between flare-ups eczema can be manageable and even disappear. Some common triggers for flare-ups are hot baths or showers, experiencing stress, excess sweating, dry air, cigarette smoke and allergies.

Different Eczema Treatments Available

Not all eczema is severe and can be treated in a variety of ways. Medicine is not recommended as a first course of action but in some cases in necessary.

The Mayo Clinic recommends using a variety of methods to manage eczema such as:

  • Non-prescription lotions like Calamine
  • Allergy control
  • Don’t scratch
  • Cool showers or baths – pat dry with towel
  • Warm bath with colloidal oatmeal
  • Use non-irritating skin moisturizers
  • Use unscented soaps
  • Use humidifier to keep air moist
  • Wear cotton clothing
Many homeopathic remedies exist as well. Making homemade eczema creams and diet management are a couple of natural treatments for eczema.

For extreme and severe eczema, prescribed medications may be offered. Some possibilities are corticosteroid creams and oral corticosteroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, and immunomodulators.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice


American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. "Allergy Statistics" (accessed September 28, 2010).

Mayo Clinic. "Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)" (accessed September 28, 2010).

DermNet NZ. " Salicylic Acid " (accessed September 28, 2010).

Dermatology Online Journal. "Treatment of molluscum contagiousum: A brief review and discussion of a case successfully treated with adapelene" (accessed September 28, 2010)
Natural e GREEN Health and Wellness Online Store is located in Airdrie, Alberta Canada and offers over 700 natural, organic and non-toxic products for the whole family. Voted #1 in customer service and product quality, we strive hard to continue providing great customer experiences and to be the best online store to shop for your natural and organic products!

Feel free to browse our online catalogue and our green holiday gift guide to see all the items we carry in our store!

We deliver for free to locations in Airdrie, Alberta and now offer flat-rate shipping for delivery to Canada and the USA. We also offer worldwide shipping!

Categories: Bath & Body | Baby & Kids | Pet Care | Cosmetics & Personal Care | Spiritual Wellness | Gifts and Gift Baskets | Herbs and Vitamins | ADHD Remedies | House & Home | Music CDs and Books | Deals of the Day