5 Health Benefits Of Using Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding

✔ Research-backed

Salicylic acid is an organic acid that treats skin redness and inflammation. Although the medication works effectively, women worry about the safety of salicylic acid while breastfeeding.

There are chances salicylic acid can pass into breast milk. To avoid the side effects of this medication, you should use it in limited quality and less frequently. However, before using salicylic acid, it is important to consult your doctor to understand its safety.

Read on to know about the safety of salicylic acid in nursing mothers and its health benefits.

In This Article

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is an organic acid that reduces skin inflammation.

Image: Shutterstock

Salicylic acid is a colorless organic acid, which belongs to the class of beta hydroxy acids. The acid is similar to acetylsalicylic acid, a prominent compound in aspirin. Salicylic acid is highly effective in minimizing inflammation and redness of the skin, which is why many use it to treat skin conditions like acne, inflammation and other skin problems while breastfeeding. Remember that you need to limit the use of salicylic acid while nursing your baby to ensure her safety.

Health Benefits Of Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding

Check out here amazing benefits of using salicylic acid while nursing:

1. Minimizes Pain:

Consume food rich in salicylic acid as a remedy to cure pain.

Image: Shutterstock

Ingredients like aspirin make salicylic acid an effective analgesic. Many foods possess salicylic acid and help relieve pain. Experts recommend that you consume natural plant extracts rich in salicylic acid as an effective remedy to cure pain (1).

protip_icon Quick fact
Many herbs and spices such as paprika, turmeric, and cumin may serve as natural sources of salicylates (7).

2. Treats Acne:

Salicylic acid is a highly effective remedy for treating acne post delivery. The acid helps unclog pores and reduces swelling and inflammation. Several skin lotions, gels, and cleansers contain 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid. You can use the gels on the affected skin while breastfeeding (2). Make sure you don’t use copious amounts; a thin layer would work. Use facial cleansers with the help of cotton balls soaked in warm water.

3. Cures Common Warts:

Skin warts are annoying and ugly to boot. Salicylic acid effectively cures common warts (2). Topical ointments that contain it help cure warts of all sizes, ranging from tiny to large ones. Since the acid is keratolytic medication, it easily dissolves the keratin that forms the thick dead skin on the top of the wart and its inner part.

4. Treats Corns And Calluses:

Calluses and corns are thick dead skin present under the soles, palms and feet in nursing moms (2). Keratolytic properties of the salicylic acid dissolve the corn and thick layer that covers it. The acid is safe to use topically while breastfeeding (3). You can use drops, applicators, pads, and plasters that contain salicylic acid.

protip_icon Caution
Avoid applying topical salicylic acid to skin that is broken, red, inflamed, irritated, or infected (2).

5. Treats Dandruff:

Salicylic acid softens the skin and prevents dandruff formation.

Image: Shutterstock

Dandruff can be irritating to lactating moms. It is a result of the scalps’ dry skin flaking. Salicylic acid softens the skin and prevents the formation of flakes. You can use dandruff treatment shampoos containing 1.8% to 2 % salicylic acid. Rub the shampoo on the scalp, allow it to soak for some minutes, and then wash your head thoroughly. Soon the itchy, annoying dandruff will disappear (4).

Is Salicylic Acid Safe While Breastfeeding?

Seek medical advice before using salicylic acid while breastfeeding.

Image: Shutterstock

High doses of salicylic acid can be harmful to your newborn, as it can pass into the breast milk. Avoid the oral consumption of foods or products containing the acid. Topical application of the acid to cure skin inflammation and other skin hazards can be safe while breastfeeding. Make sure you use a small amount of the acid once or twice daily when applying it topically. Seek professional advice before you use salicylic acid while lactating. Physicians may recommend alternative treatments for your skin ailments and ensure your dear little angel suffers no harm (2).

protip_icon Quick tip
Avoid applying salicylic acid to your body areas that usually come in direct contact with your baby’s skin or where it may be licked off by the infant (3).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use salicylic acid with retinol while breastfeeding?

Yes. Retinol is safe to be used along with salicylic acid, and it penetrates the skin in negligible amounts (5)

2. Is salicylic acid face wash and mask while breastfeeding safe?

There have been no reports of salicylic acid penetrating the skin and affecting the quality of breast milk. Therefore, salicylic acid products are safe to be used while breastfeeding (6).

Pain, swelling, and acne may be common in lactating mothers. However, you must consult your healthcare provider before resorting to ointments or gels such as salicylic acid while breastfeeding. Using skin care products containing the acid is typically harmless, but avoid consuming products with salicylic acid to prevent it from reaching the baby through your breastmilk. Although it can help relieve pain and treat dandruff and acne, over-application may have negative impacts. Your doctor can suggest the right amount to use during breastfeeding and some safer alternatives.

Infographic: Benefits Of Using Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding

Salicylic acid is a popular component of many skincare and hair care products and is effective in treating skin conditions. As we list its potential advantages for nursing mothers in this infographic, we also suggest you seek medical advice for the appropriate and safe use of salicylic acid during breastfeeding.

how salicylic acid can benefit nursing mothers (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Salicylic acid is a colorless organic acid popular for its anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
  • It is one of the key components in several skin products that treat conditions such as acne, warts, corns, calluses, and dandruff.
  • Salicylic acid can pass into breast milk and cause harm to your infant. Seek medical advice before using it while breastfeeding.
  • Eating foods or products containing salicylic acid should be avoided while breastfeeding.
Salicylic Acid While Breastfeeding_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Kay H Steen et al.; (1995); Topical acetylsalicylic
    salicylic acid and indomethacin suppress pain from experimental tissue acidosis in human skin.
  2. Salicylic Acid Topical.
  3. Salicylic Acid.
  4. J.J. Leyden et al.; (1987); Effects of sulfur and salicylic acid in a shampoo base in the treatment of dandruff: a double-blind study using corneocyte counts and clinical grading.
  5. Skin Care, Hair Care and Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.
  6. Salicylic Acid.
  7. The Foods with the Highest Aspirin Content.
Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
The following two tabs change content below.
Mindy Cockeram

Mindy CockeramLCCE, CLEC

Mindy Cockeram is a childbirth and breastfeeding educator with 11 years of experience. She currently resides in Southern California, where she teaches at a non-profit hospital. Her career began after the birth of her second child when she changed career direction and trained as an antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust in London, England. She taught childbirth classes for...read full bio