Breastfeeding,  Motherhood

Can You Use Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding

Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding

Salicylic acid is a common active ingredient in many skincare products and topical treatments. Although it offers many benefits, salicylic acid while breastfeeding carries a few risks. When used correctly, breastfeeding moms can still enjoy products with salicylic acid. So, what is the safe way to use salicylic acid while breastfeeding? Let’s find out.

What is Salicylic Acid?

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is an organic, colorless compound. This plant hormone is used as the active ingredient in many skincare products. It is also used as a precursor and metabolite of aspirin.

If you’ve ever used a skincare product to unclog your pores or reduce acne, it’s possible you’ve used a product with salicylic acid. When used in skincare products, a concentration of 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid is used.

Salicylic Acid Uses

Salicylic acid is most often used for its ability to remove the outer layer of skin. It is used in cosmetic products to treat warts, psoriasis, acne, ringworm, dandruff, and ichthyosis. A small concentration of this ingredient is most commonly used in skincare products meant to treat clogged pores and acne.

Pharmaceutical production is another application for salicylic acid. It is the starting material used for creating aspirin and an ingredient in the salt compound used to make Pepto-Bismol.

Salicylic acid can also be used as a food preservative, bactericide, and antiseptic.

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Salicylic Acid Benefits

There are many benefits to salicylic acid use:

  • It can clear out dirt deep in pores
  • It can loosen dead skin cells (such as psoriasis lesions and dandruff)
  • It reduces sebum secretion
  • It can reduce redness and inflammation on skin
  • It can break down pimples
  • It can improve the appearance of skin
  • It reduces blemishes
  • It can help prevent blackheads and breakouts

Because of these benefits, salicylic acid is a common ingredient in topical acne treatments. It is also helpful for treating psoriasis, dandruff, and warts.

Salicylic Acid and Breastfeeding

Some people raise the alarm about using salicylic acid while breastfeeding. When used in small quantities, however, it is relatively safe for breastfeeding moms. Because most skincare products only use a small concentration of the compound, there is no evidence that enough is absorbed into the bloodstream to cause problems with milk production or quality.

However, you should ask your doctor or dermatologist about all of your skincare products while breastfeeding. Although the amount of salicylic acid in skincare products is small, it’s always best to get your doctor’s opinion.

Can You Use Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding?

Can You Use Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding?
Can You Use Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding?

When breastfeeding, you can use salicylic acid with caution and under the advisement of your doctor. Although there is no evidence that topical salicylic acid while breastfeeding harms your baby, it is best to consult your doctor about all skincare products.

Is Salicylic Acid Safe While Breastfeeding?

According to NCBI, when you use salicylic acid while breastfeeding, not enough of the compound is absorbed to make any notable impact on your milk. If you use topical salicylic acid, you’re unlikely to cause any problems for your baby.

However, you need to use caution when applying products with salicylic acid to areas where your baby may touch or lick. Although it isn’t absorbed into your bloodstream, direct contact with skin treated with salicylic acid can be harmful to your baby.

Is Topical Salicylic Acid Safe While Breastfeeding?

Overall, topical salicylic acid is safe to use while breastfeeding. The concentration in most skincare products is low enough that it doesn’t pose a risk to your baby. Use products approved by your doctor in small amounts to prevent any complications.

When using salicylic acid while breastfeeding, it’s important to avoid putting it on areas your baby will touch or lick. Topical salicylic acid should not be used on your breasts or chest while your baby is still breastfeeding.

Salicylic Acid Side Effects

Salicylic acid does have a few side effects:

  • Burning or tingling skin
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Peeling

If it is used on large portions of your body, salicylic acid may also cause an overdose. When too much salicylic acid enters your bloodstream, you may need emergency medical treatment.

Because salicylic acid is a key ingredient used to create aspirin, women allergic to aspirin should avoid using products with salicylic acid. An allergic reaction can occur when using salicylic acid.

Salicylic Acid Peel While Breastfeeding

Although salicylic acid peels often contain a higher concentration of salicylic acid, they may still be safe to use while breastfeeding. The amount of salicylic acid in these peels won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream in a high enough concentration to cause harm to your baby.

However, you should talk to your doctor before using a salicylic acid peel. If you’re using other salicylic acid products, your doctor should be able to counsel you on how often you can safely use salicylic acid while breastfeeding.

Salicylic Acid Face Wash While Breastfeeding

Many face washes include salicylic acid. You can use most of these, since the concentration of salicylic acid is often between 0.5% and 2%. With this low dose, you’re unlikely to run into problems unless you’re using too much of the product too often.

Salicylic Acid Mask While Breastfeeding

Although salicylic acid masks are mostly safe to use while breastfeeding, your doctor may suggest an alternative product to treat your skin. These products can contain a higher concentration of salicylic acid, increasing your chances of developing side effects.

Best Salicylic Acid Products

There are many great salicylic acid products on the market. Below are the best seven salicylic acid products, along with a few key highlights about what makes them great.

Verso Acne Deep Cleanse


This cleanser is used to treat acne-prone skin. When pumped, the solution creates a luxurious foam that helps your skin feel clean. Because it can dry out your skin, you should use it in small amounts. This product pairs well with a good moisturizer to provide your skin with needed care.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash


You’ve probably seen this orange acne wash at your local drug store. The 2% salicylic acid concentration works to help remove dirt and oil from your pores. It is gentle enough for daily use, even with its higher concentration of salicylic acid.

First Aid Beauty Acne Spot Treatment


This skincare product targets blemishes like blackheads and whiteheads. Although it is gentle enough for use on sensitive skin, you should use it sparingly. Small amounts of this product work powerfully to target problem areas on your skin. Only increase the amount used on your skin when absolutely needed to treat stubborn acne.

St. Ives Acne Control Tea Tree Cleanser


This cleanser combines tea tree oil and salicylic acid to help eliminate dirt and oil from your pores. Not only is this product paraben-free, but the plastic bottle is 100% recyclable. This product is a must-have for environmentally conscious moms.

Humane Clarifying Toner Pads


These toner pads combine salicylic acid with green tea extract to help soothe your skin and reduce redness and irritation. They are great for removing stubborn dirt and oil from your pores.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque


This mask can be used to reduce the appearance of blemishes and even out your skin’s tone. Buyers note that this product does a great job of removing debris from pores without stripping or irritating skin. The solution works powerfully to treat skin overnight.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant


This salicylic acid peel works powerfully to clear out clogged pores. It can help reduce blemishes and wrinkles while soothing inflammation. This product can be used to powerfully transform the appearance of your face’s skin.


Salicylic acid is great for treating a variety of skincare needs. Despite its benefits, though, it’s important to talk to your doctor about using salicylic acid while breastfeeding. Although there is no evidence that it can cause harm when used in small quantities, it’s best to discuss all topical treatments with your doctor.


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