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August 15, 1980

Absorption of Salicylic Acid

JAMA. 1980;244(7):660-661. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310070014015

To the Editor.—  For the past several years a keratolytic gel developed by Baden1 has been used as a treatment for hyperkeratotic disorders of the skin. The gel consists of 20% ethanol, 20% water, and 6% salicylic acid in propylene glycol and is marketed under the brand name Keralyt. Treatment involves application of the gel to the affected areas after hydration of the skin. The epidermal surface being treated is then occluded under a plastic dressing overnight. In many cases considerable clearing of hyperkeratotic lesions has been achieved through the use of this regimen.Baden's studies indicated that salicylism does not occur to any great extent because of the use of this preparation.1 Another study using the keratolytic gel supported this assertion.2However, salicylic acid can and does penetrate the epidermis after topical administration; this fact has been recognized for nearly a century.3 The literature contains