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L'acide salicylique est-il dangereux au soleil ? Focus.

Salicylic Acid and Sun: Is This a Dangerous Combination?

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), known for its keratolytic action that promotes desquamation, i.e. the elimination of dead skin. Many ideas are circulating about it, especially about its supposed photo-sensitizing power. But does salicylic acid cause sun sensitivity? It is actually not the case.

Does Salicylic Acid Cause Sun Sensitivity?

No, salicylic acid and sun is not a dangerous combination, as this BHA does not increase the skin's sun sensitivity. It can be applied in the morning, even if you plan to go out during the day. Just be sure to use a sunscreen every day that matches your skin tone.

Interestingly, salicylic acid may even have a photo-protective effect on the skin! Two clinical studies have shown that salicylic acid, when applied a few minutes before sun exposure, reduces sunburn. It is important to note, however, that in these experiments, a relatively high concentration of salicylic acid was applied in large quantities shortly before UV exposure. It is absolutely not recommended to use salicylic acid as a sunscreen because to achieve effective sun protection, you would have to use a much higher concentration than the 2% commonly used in cosmetics. This concentration would cause too much exfoliation and irritation for frequent use.

Note that salicylates (chemicals derived from salicylic acid) are sometimes used as sunscreens. This is because salicylic acid can convert the energy of sunlight into heat (a longer, less damaging wavelength) and, in this way, potentially protect the skin from sun damage. In addition, applying aspirin to the skin reduces the inflammation caused by excessive sun exposure. Aspirin is a synthetic derivative of salicylic acid.

In other words, chemical substances very similar to salicylic acid help prevent sunburn.

Our Salicylic Acid Products.

Typology offers two treatments concentrated in salicylic acid to take care of your skin and fight effectively against imperfections:

With salicylic acid 2%, this serum targets the imperfections effectively. It is also enriched with zinc (1%), a seboregulating and antimicrobial trace element. It is applied locally, in small quantities. Generally, one drop is sufficient for an isolated pimple. The first results can be observed after three days.

Less concentrated in salicylic acid than the serum, this toner is applied on the whole face, in your daily evening routine, before the night cream or the botanical oil. Enriched with purifying and antibacterial active ingredients, it brightens the complexion, tightens the pores and refines the skin texture.


  • Kornhauser, A. et al. The effects of topically applied glycolic acid and salicylic acid on ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema, DNA damage and sunburn cell formation in human skin. J Dermatol Sci, (2009)

  • Thomas Mammone & al., Salicylic acid protects the skin from UV damage, Journal of Cosmetic Science, (2006).

  • Bubna, A. K. Aspirin in dermatology: Revisited. Indian Dermatol Online J. (2015)


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