Watch Out For Salicylates

Published: 20th January 2010
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You'll find salicylates in many foods and herbs, since it is a naturally-occurring compound. It works as an anti-inflammatory, and is frequently used in skin care products, medicines, cosmetics and even toothpastes. Some preservatives, fragrances and colourings also have salicylates.

One of the most common places to find salicylates is aspirin, as they are the main ingredient. Most people who are allergic to aspirin are actually allergic to the salicylates. If you are doing research into products that are safe for your sensitive skin, you should know that these salicylates are just about everywhere. We are exposed to salicylate compounds on a daily basis, in amounts much higher than in the past.

For those with sensitive skin, even small amounts of any irritant can cause rashes or other allergic reactions. And with salicylates being found in so many places, this can compound any problems you might have. You may be fine with a little bit, but after all-day exposure, you might start to have a reaction.

Salicylate Allergy Symptoms

An allergic reaction to salicylates can come in many forms, which can further confuse anyone trying to figure out the problem. Here are a few examples of the possible symptoms:

  • Headaches

  • Asthma

  • Sinus inflammation

  • Irritated skin

  • Swollen hands

  • Nausea

  • Depression

  • Memory loss

  • Diarrhea

  • Hyperactivity

As you can see, it would be very easy to dismiss any of these symptoms as being unrelated to a substance allergy.

How to Reduce Your Exposure

It can be difficult to reduce your salicylate exposure since it is present is so many products. But if you do determine that you have an allergy or sensitivity to it, you should try your best to do so.

Needless to say, you won't want to drop all the natural food products that contain it from your diet, so you'll have to work harder to make sure your skin products and cosmetics don't have it.

  • Stay away from any shampoos, cosmetics, soaps or other skin care products with artificial colour, dyes, or fragrances.

  • Avoid any products with herbs or botanical ingredients, as they usually have high salicylate content.

  • Obviously, stay away from aspirin for pain relief. Products like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are fine.

  • Look for salicylate-free toothpaste. Mint is naturally high in salicylates, which can make toothpaste a problem. Actually, stay away from mint altogether.

  • When it comes to actual food products, try to limit your intake of coffee, tea, alcohol, vinegar and ketchup. They are all high in salicylate but aren't particularly healthy anyway.

About Author:

M Rochell is the editor of She has over 30 years of first hand experience discovering safer, natural solutions for sensitive skin care. Find out why salicylate free products are so hard to find at her site.

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