Salicylic Acid, also known as 2-hydroxybenzoic acid is a dry powder that occurs naturally in the bark of the Salix alba willow tree. It is considered to have aspirin-like properties which is why we see it in so many skin care products such as anti-inflammatory creams, and acne treatments. It is thought to work by dissolving skin debris that clog pores and form acne. As an added bonus, salicylic acid is becoming a popular additive for manufactures who create "green" or naturally derived preservatives.
The European Union states that salicylic acid is safe for use at a concentration of up to 2.0% for leave on and rinse-off cosmetics, and at a concentration of up to 3.0% for cosmetic rinse off hair products. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel states that SA is, "safe as used when formulated to avoid irritation and when formulated to avoid increased sun sensitivity."
Precaution: Since salicylic acid is known to increase the skin’s sun sensitivity by 50%, you should label your products accordingly. Also, this ingredient should not be used in a formulation designed for children or younger.
Salicylic acid is water soluble. Do not exceed 2% for skin care or 3% for wash off hair care formulations. Test formulations on a small area of skin before applying it to a large area.
INCI: Salicylic Acid, USP. This product is considered pharmaceutical grade from the manufacture but since we are cosmetic supply company this product is sold as a cosmetic (not food) additive.