In November, EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) released final opinion on Methyl salicylate (methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate).
The SCCS considers Methyl salicylate safe when used in cosmetic products up to the maximum concentrations in accordance with the table below:
Type of cosmetic product exposure
Maximum % concentration used
Rinse-off skin & hair products (except hand wash products)
Hand wash products
Leave on skin & hair products (except spray and aerosol products)
Face make up products
Lipsticks & lip balm
Eye make up products & Make up remover
Mouthwash for age 6-10 years
Mouthwash for age above 10 years
Leave on hair products spray/aerosol
Body lotion spray/aerosol
In the meantime, the SCCS also express the concerns related to the use of methyl salicylate, which should be considered as a weak skin sensitiser in humans and eye irritant:
Methyl salicylate can be used in consumer products other than cosmetic products, such as household cleaning products, air care products, biocides (e.g. disinfectants, pest control products), polishes and waxes which may increase the systemic exposure dose with a possibility to exceed the safe level.
Methyl salicylate will be metabolised in the body to salicylic acid which is also classified as a reprotoxicant and used in cosmetic products (see opinion SCCS/1601/18). Therefore the combined exposure to cosmetic products containing various salicylates may increase the systemic exposure dose with a possibility to exceed the safe level.
The SCCS also notices that wintergreen oil that is used in cosmetic products may contain up to 99% methyl salicylate. Therefore, when calculating the content of methyl salicylate in a cosmetic product, any fraction coming from wintergreen oil should also be considered.
(Click here to see more details about the opinion)