Is the Use of Salicylic Acid in Cosmetics Safe? That’s What the EU Says

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) of the EU has published an Opinion on Salicylic Acid in Cosmetics. The authors write that the use of salicylic acid as a preservative is safe up to a concentration of 0.5%. But the opinion does not apply to products used orally, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, or to sprayable products that can affect the lungs upon inhalation. The authors also emphasize that use of the substance in products like body lotions, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliners, lipstick, and roll-on deodorants is safe only within defined limits.

Salicylic acid is dangerous when swallowed. Because it is an irritant, it should not come into contact with the eyes or mucus membranes. Persons with sensitive skin should avoid the use of preparations that include salicylic acid.

At the end of last December, a group of scientists at the Technical University of Denmark published a study showing that salicylic acid works as an endocrine disruptor.

Salicylic acid is one of the dermatological ingredients used most frequently in recipes. The Yellow List of Medications pharmaceutical index (only in German) contains 79 preparations that include salicylic acid.

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