Salicylic acid(C7H6O3) is a natural product which has been used in the treatment of disease for thousands of years. You may be familiar with this acid; chances are that you have a bottle of it around the house somewhere, although you may know it better as aspirin. In addition to being produced naturally from plants, it can also be synthesized through a chemical reaction, which is the production method of choice for commercial use.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid derived from the bark of a willow tree. It has both cosmetic and medicinal uses. It is often found in skin care products because of its ability to treat acne, psoriasis, warts and other skin conditions. The Greek physician Hippocrates was among the first to identify the bitter extract of the willow bark as a substance that eased minor aches and reduced fevers. It is probably best known as a component similar to aspirin because the chemcial is a metabolite of aspirin. The active extract of the bark was isolated by Henri Leroux, a French pharmacist and Raffaela Pira, an Italian chemist in 1828.
In nature, this acid forms in the bark of the willow tree, also known as salix. People all over the world have observed that preparations of willow bark can be used to treat headaches and skin conditions for centuries; the Greeks, for example, prepared a white powder from willow bark, while Native Americans used willow bark to make therapeutic teas.
Salicylic acid has been used to treat fevers since ancient times. In modern times, it is also used to treat pain and prevent heart disease. The pain and fever reliever, aspirin, is actually derived from a compound of salicylic acid. It’s ability to suppress thomboxanes is especially helpful in preventing blood clots and heart attacks. It works by suppressing the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes, which can cause blood clots and other health problems. The acid used in aspirin is different from the acid used in topical skin care products. It is important not to get the two different types confused.
It’s basically a chemical agent that aids in the process of exfoliation by eliminating surface skin cells and opening up pores. When applied to the skin, salicylic acid(CAS number: 69-72-7) works by causing the cells of the epidermis to shed properly. This prevents skin pores from getting clogged up and subsequently being infected with bacteria. For this reason, it is also used in dandruff shampoos to speed up the process of shedding. The most efficient way to apply salicylic acid as a topical solution is through cosmetic pads that have been soaked in the acid, which are then applied to the skin daily.