Salicylic acid is a colorless, crystalline organic carboxylic acid. In small quantities, salicylic acid is used as a food preservative and antiseptic in toothpaste. Salicylic acid is the key additive in many skin-care products for the treatment of acne, keratosis pilaris and warts. It treats acne by causing skin cells to slough off more readily, preventing pores from clogging up.
The medicinal properties of salicylate, mainly the lowering of fever, have been known since ancient times. The substance occurs in the bark of willow trees and the name Salicylic acid is derived from the Latin name for the Willow tree - Salix. When the alcohol of salicylic acid combines with the ester menthol, it forms methyl salicylate, also known under the name oil of wintergreen.
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