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Risques acide salicylique femmes enceintes.

Salicylic Acid During Pregnancy: Is There a Risk?

During pregnancy, women become more cautious and concerned about the safety of the skincare products they use due to worries about potential dangers to the fetus. In this situation, how is salicylic acid evaluated?

Is there a risk in using topical salicylic acid during pregnancy?

Firstly, it is crucial to note that one must proceed with caution during this unique period of life and always seek advice from a healthcare professional before using a product containing salicylic acid to ensure your safety and that of your baby. Based on the evidence currently available and the report from the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), it is possible to apply safely throughout pregnancy products containing salicylic acid, when used within the concentration limits specified by the Cosmetic Regulation (Annex III and V).

Salicylic acid is classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Category C drug for pregnancy.

A number of studies have been published in which researchers have examined the outcomes of women who took low doses of oral acetylsalicylic acid during pregnancy and found no adverse events, such as congenital malformations, hemorrhagic complications, or premature delivery (miscarriage).

However, at high concentrations, if large areas of skin are treated (> 20%) or when applied under occlusion, salicylates have the potential to cross the placental barrier to reach the fetus. Indeed, an overdose in the last trimester of pregnancy can lead to fetal death, antepartum and postpartum bleeding, or prolonged pregnancy and labor. Therefore, further research is needed to determine if there are any harmful risks to the developing baby.

However, no studies have been conducted regarding the topical use of salicylic acid during pregnancy, preventing a concrete recommendation. On the other hand, it has been shown that a small proportion of salicylic acid can be absorbed to some extent by the skin. Therefore, even though it is unlikely to pose a risk to the developing baby, doctors recommend that salicylic acid-based solutions should be used with caution on normal skin.

Similarly, there are very few studies conducted on the topical use of salicylic acid in breastfeeding women, whose main concern is the systemic absorption of active ingredients and their subsequent excretion into breast milk, which could potentially affect neonatal growth and development. HIGGINS H. W. & co. have stated that salicylic acid chemical peels can be safely used during breastfeeding, as there is little risk of significant systemic absorption. Based on the data provided, there are certain things to keep in mind.

  • Use salicylic acid at a concentration less than 2% ;

  • Having a topical use only, as salicylic acid is irritating to the mucous membranes ;

  • Limit salicylic acid to a topical use, on small skin areas;

  • Never apply salicylic acid to damaged skin, as this could increase its skin penetration;

  • Apply as a precautionary measure daily a sunscreen when using products containing BHA due to its keratolytic action, even though it is a low-level photoprotective agent;

  • Selecting alternative peels, such as those with lactic acid or glycolic acid, which are classified as category B by the FDA, given that the use of salicylic acid peels is not recommended during pregnancy.


  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Safety assessment of salicylic acid, butyloctyl salicylate, calcium salicylate, C12-15 alkyl salicylate, capryloyl salicylic acid, hexyldodecyl salicylate, isocetyl salicylate, isodecyl salicylate, magnesium salicylate, MEA-salicylate, ethylhexyl salicylate, potassium salicylate, methyl salicylate, myristyl salicylate, sodium salicylate, TEA-salicylate, and tridecyl salicylate. International Journal of Toxicology (2003).

  • BIELECKA-GRZELA S. & al. Evaluation of skin penetration of topically applied drugs in humans by cutaneous microdialysis: acyclovir vs. salicylic acid. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (2007).

  • MANOGUERRA A. S. & al. Salicylate poisoning: An evidence-based consensus guideline for out-of-hospital management. Clinical Toxicology (2008).

  • PRICE T. & al. Aspirin and reproductive outcomes. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey (2008).

  • EINARSON A. & al. Safety of skin care products during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician (2011).

  • HIGGINS H. W. & al. Safety of cosmetic dermatologic procedures during pregnancy. Dermatologic Surgery (2013).

  • LEVITT J. & al. A review of toxicity from topical salicylic acid preparations. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2014).

  • ARIF T. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (2015).

  • MURASE J. E. & al. A review of the safety of cosmetic procedures during pregnancy and lactation. International Journal of Women's Dermatology (2017).

  • Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS). Opinion on salicylic acid (CAS 69-72-7) - Submission I (2019).


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