The SCCS adopted SCCS/1633/21 Opinion on Methyl salicylate (methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate) at its plenary meeting on 24-25 June 2021.

Primary name and/or INCI name:

Methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate (INCI)

Chemical names:

  • 2-Hydroxybenzoic acid methyl ester
  • Benzoic acid, 2-hydroxy-, methyl ester
  • Methyl salicylate
  • Salicylic acid, methyl ester


The SCCS considers Methyl salicylate safe when used in cosmetic products up to the maximum concentrations provided in the dossier submitted by the applicant as detailed in Table 1, except for mouthwashes used by children below the age of 10.

Methyl salicylate should be considered as a weak skin sensitiser in humans and as an eye irritant.

Moreover, the SCCS would like to express other concerns related to the use of methyl salicylate:

  • 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 and possibly 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 and possibly 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.

SCCS SCCS/1633/21 Final Opinion can be consulted here.