Salicylic acid is a common over the counter acne treatment found in cleansers, toners and lotions. It works by helping the skin slough off dead skin cells, effectively keeping the follicles clear of debris. Salicylic acid works best for mild acne.
These products also come in a variety of different strengths. It is best to start with the most mild, usually around 0.5%, and look for something stronger if it doesn’t work within a few weeks. Make sure to apply the product to your entire face, as it works by preventing acne as well. Finally, make sure to continue using these products, even once your acne clears up.
Side effects can range from a mild burning or stinging to dryness and flaking. Try adding in a daily moisturizer to help deal with any dryness. Make sure to stop taking these products and let your doctor know if you experience any irritation beyond mild stinging or dryness.