In a final opinion, scientists at the EU organisation evaluated the Salicyclic Acid’s use as a preservative with a maximum concentration of 0.5%, as well as for non-preservative purposes with a dosing of more than 3.0% for rinse of products and up to 2.0% in other products.
Considering new data that was applied to these scenarios, the SCCS has said that in all-three instances the chemical is considered safe when used at the required dosing, and so long as it has no oral use applications.
Salicylic acid restrictions
According to the SCCS opinion paper, Salicylic acid is used in cosmetic products as a denaturant, a hair and skin conditioning agent, an exfoliant, an anti-acne cleansing agent, an anti-dandruff agent and a product preservative.
Toxicity concerns mean that, according to the current EU Cosmetic Product Regulation guidelines it cannot be used in formulations used on children under three, except shampoos, and that product packaging should clearly state when it is being used as a preservative.
The SCCS study on the chemical also involved a survey for it use, which found that it is used as a preservative in all cosmetics products except mouthwash, toothpaste, eyeliner and mascara.
Reproductive toxicity still a concern
Other non-preservative see it included in formulations as a spot-treatment medication to treat warts and callouses because of its keratoplastic properties, and also for clinical use as a skin peeling agent.
After considering data on a wide-range of potential dangers that included carcinogencity, photo-induced toxicity, reproductive toxicity and mutagenicity, the SCCS team agreed that the Salicylic Acid poses no threat.
It did however acknowledge that there is a body of evidence pointing to reproductive toxicity, which meant that NOAEL mg/kg bw/day was used for the calculation of the dosing.