Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that is widely used in acne skin care products, as it can reduce skin inflammation and unclog the skin pores. However, the use of this medication during pregnancy can give rise to certain complications, which are briefly discussed in this article.
Salicylic acid is a colorless organic acid that belongs to the class of beta hydroxy acids. It is chemically similar to acetylsalicylic acid, which is the active compound present in aspirin. It can reduce redness and inflammation of the skin, and this is the reason why this organic acid is used in some skin conditions like acne, which mostly affects teenagers or adolescents.
However, pregnant women can also experience this skin condition, mainly due to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. Though salicylic acid is often considered one of the best over-the-counter medications for acne treatment, it may not be very wise to use this product in large dosage during pregnancy.
This beta hydroxy acid comes in two forms – oral and topical. Topical salicylic acid can be found in lotions or creams that are used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes. This organic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, and is known to provide relief in pain and reduce fever. Salicylic acid along with its derivatives are also used to relieve muscle and joint stiffness.
However, this acid is more popular for its cosmetic uses. It is an important ingredient in many skin care products. It can be used to treat skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, warts, calluses, corns, and dandruff. It is known to exfoliate the skin by removing the dead skin cells, which can unclog the skin pores. Apart from these, it is used as a food preservative.
Salicylic Acid and Pregnancy
As mentioned already, this beta hydroxy acid is available in two forms – topical and oral. The topical use of this acid in small amounts is generally considered safe during pregnancy. But pregnant women are usually not advised to use it excessively. However, there is no conclusive evidence to establish the detrimental effects of this organic acid on the fetus, when it is used topically. But this acid is absorbed by the skin, and thus, it can enter the bloodstream. Therefore, many physicians suggest to maintain precaution during pregnancy. Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid the topical use of this product in a large amount and for a long time.
Though the effects of topical salicylic acid on pregnant women are not very clear, the oral form of the product has been found to cause some serious side effects. The use of oral salicylic acid in the later stage of pregnancy has found to be associated with intracranial bleeding. Studies have also revealed an increased risk of miscarriages and birth defects. Sometimes, an overuse can give rise to heart and lung problems, and acidosis in newborn babies, which can prove fatal at times.
In general, pregnant women are advised to avoid the use of oral form of this organic acid. Expecting and nursing mothers should also talk to their physician before using the topical form of this beta hydroxy acid, as some individuals have been found to be hypersensitive to this acid. Even a small amount of this compound can produce some adverse side effects in such individuals. Usually, the concentration of this medication in topical preparations do not exceed 2%, which is the limit established by the FDA.
To sum up, topical salicylic acid should be used with care, and only under the supervision of a physician, while the oral form of this product should be avoided during pregnancy. Otherwise, it may lead to some severe complications both for the mother and the fetus. So, it is better to opt for the natural acne cures, or have a discussion with your physician if you want to use any over-the-counter or prescription medication for treating acne.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.