Monday, 23 April 2012

Salicylate Part 2 - Salicylate in Everyday Products

Salicylic Acid is sometimes labeled as beta hydroxy acid (BHA). It can be obtained from the bark of willow trees.

In 1989, Salicylic Acid was also isolated from the perennial herb Meadowsweet by German researchers.

There are some researchers who believe that salicylate is an essential micronutrient in the human diet. They call it the 'Vitamin S'.

Salicylic Acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid. It is a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. Phenolic acid is a class of compounds grouped together due to their similar chemical structure. In the world of cosmetics and beauty products, salicylic acid is labelled as beta hydroxy acid.

The chemical structure of Salicylic acid
Salicylic Acid is used in plants' organic synthesis and it functions as a plant hormone. The salts and esters of Salicylic Acid are known as salicylates.

Below is a list of the salts of Salicylic Acid:

1. Calcium Salicylate
2. Magnesium Salicylate
3. MEA-Salicylate
4. Potassium Salicylate
5. Sodium Salicylate
6. TEA-Salicylate

Below is a list of the esters of Salicylic Acid:

1. Butyloctyl Salicylate
2. C12-15 Alkyl Salicylate
3. Capryolyl Salicylic Acid
4. Hexyldecyl Salicylate
5. Isocetyl Salicylate
6. Isodecyl Salicylate
7. Ethylhexyl Salicylate
8. Methyl Salicylate
9. Myristyl Salicylate
10. Tridecyl Salicylate

Salicylic Acid, its salts and esters have many functions and these ingredients may be used in moisturizers, skin cleansing products, shampoo, skin care, hair care, suntan and sunscreen products, mouthwashes and dentifrices.

Here are some of the uses of Salicylic Acid, its salts and esters.

1. Calcium Salicylate
This is used as a preservative.

2. Magnesium Salicylate
Magnesium Salicylate is a common analgesic and NSAID. It is used to treat muscular pain. It is also used to treat headaches, general back pain and certain joint pains like arthritis.

3. MEA-Salicylate
MEA-Salicylate is used as a preservative in cosmetic products.

4. Potassium Salicylate
This is used as a cosmetic biocide. This means that it helps to cleanse the skin or to prevent ordour by destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.

5. Sodium Salicylate
This is used as a denaturant and as a preservative.

6. TEA-Salicylate & Ethylhexyl Salicylate
This is used as a sunscreen agent (absorbs, reflect or scatter UV rays) and an ultraviolet light absorber (protects cosmetic products from deterioration).

7. Butyloctyl Salicylate, C12-15 Alkyl Salicylate, Capryolyl Salicylic Acid, Hexyldecyl Salicylate, Isocetyl Salicylate, Isodecyl Salicylate & Tridecyl Salicylate
These are used as skin conditioning agents. They either act as lubricants on the skin surface which cause the skin to look smooth and soft. They also can help the skin stay hydrated by drawing moisture from the surrounding air. They also enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. And they can slow down the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin's surface.

8. Methyl Salicylate
This is used as an external analgesic. This is applied to the skin to relieve pain. This is also used as an ingredient to impart flavor or taste to a product. It is also used as a substance to impart an ordour to a product. Methyl Salicylate is one of several antiseptic ingredients in Listerine mouthwash by Johnson and Johnson company.

9. Salicylic Acid
This is used as an anti-acne agent, anti-dandruff agent, corn/callus/wart remover, skin exfoliant, hair conditioning agent, preservative for cosmetic products, and skin conditioning agent.

Many months ago, a lady wrote to me to share with me about her daughter who is also salicylate sensitive. And she is a chemist! Here is the link to her blog. Hopefully her blog can shed more light on salicylate sensitivity!

S is for Salicylate!


  1. Thank you for the link! You must have some chemist genes too, because you have doen an excellent job describing them here! Great work!

    1. Thank you! I learned a lot from your site too! :)

  2. Very interesting. It always amazes me what I don't know or knowledge I take for granted.

  3. Good research, and thanks for the link to Baby Food Steps.

  4. Great research, and thanks for the link to Baby Food Steps

  5. I know this entry is old so not sure you will see this. But I was you have to stay away from all of these? I'm trying to figure out 'anesthesia sensitivity' before my next procedure and it's very overwhelming. My reaction to general anesthesia isn't a typical 'salicylate sensitivity', like I get to local anesthesia. I just can't wake up. As I get older, it's get's worse. A simple knee scope last January had me asleep for a month. I don't want to go through that again so I'm trying to figure things out. I also have ME/CFS so am needing to figure out if they are two completely different 'anesthesia sensitivities' or under one umbrella. Anyway, I saw the word 'Ester' and I have Esters red flagged for anesthesia so thought I'd take a chance and ask. tia.

    1. Hi there! I used to react with things with salicylates. Nowadays, I can tolerate food with salicylates much more. But I am still horribly sensitive to chemicals.

      Sometimes, it's something else in the GA that causes reaction. For my husband, he wakes up fast and is alert fast too from GA. I get knocked out for days. In a fog for days. I guess it's different for every individual.

      Did you ask the doctor for something from a different group? Is that available?

      So sorry to hear about your predicament. I hope you will be able to find answers to your condition.

      Good luck.