Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Skin Absorption through skin

  • Absorption through skin

    Posted by belassi on January 20, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t doubt any more that what we put on the skin ends up in the bloodstream. I had severe RSI in my right wrist so I applied a menthol salicylate gel four or five times in one day. Later I had stomach symptoms of painkiller overload. The following morning I had severe vertigo, a symptom of aspirin poisoning. That stuff is dangerous.

    Pete replied 7 years, 5 months ago 6 Members · 15 Replies
  • 15 Replies
  • johnb

    January 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Abdominal symptoms due to salicylate are usually due to gastric erosion by corrosiveness and irritancy.

  • belassi

    January 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    I’m experimenting with a possible much nicer alternative (if it works). Since inflammation is the problem, and I know from experience that our existing 100% aloe cream works, I’ve applied a pad soaked in 10x concentrate aloe vera. If this proves effective I will formulate a cream with 10x concentrate, no water, just a carrier emulsion. 

  • Doreen

    January 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Wow… I hope you feel better now!

    What was the concentration of the salicylic acid by the way?
    At the public pharmacy I used to work years ago we sold products up to 50% dispersed in petrolatum for warts, onychomycosis etc.
    A warning for potential severe systemic effects surely isn’t out of place then!

    Did you experience good results with aloe vera in case of skin inflammation or with other problems?

  • belassi

    January 21, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Listed as 1% on the label. “Lander Crystal Ice”
    Aloe vera works great on burns and bruises but it didn’t do anything for the tendon inflammation.

  • OldPerry

    January 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Some things will end up in the bloodstream, but most things won’t. 

    You’re lucky it wasn’t worse.  This teenager found out the hard way.

  • johnb

    January 21, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    According to the LOI I found Lander Crystal Ice does not contain salicylate but does contain Menthol in a base of FD&C Blue #1, Camphor, Carbomer, Isopropyl Alcohol,
    Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Nonoxynol - 9,
    Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Water.

  • Pete

    January 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Well spotted johnb.

    By the way, I couldn’t find this exact product available any more. On one site it said they had gone bust and that there any many similar products available instead.

    The first one I looked up was Walgreens “Mineral Ice Pain Relieving Gel”


    Interestingly, one of the ingredients is cupric sulfate, that is not present in the list johnb found on the Lander’s product, and doesn’t sound good to me, although the concentration is not given.

    According to  a Cornell University pesticide information profile,

    “Copper sulfate can be corrosive to the skin and eyes. It is readily absorbed through the skin and can produce a burning pain, along with the same severe symptoms of poisoning from ingestion. Skin contact may result in itching or eczema (13). It is considered a skin sensitizer and can cause allergic reactions in some individuals (16). Eye contact with this material can cause: conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eyelid lining, excess fluid buildup in the eyelid; cornea tissue deterioration due to breaks, or ulceration, in the eye’s mucous membrane; and clouding of the cornea (2).”

    The symptoms of poisoning by ingestion include stomach pain which I guess woud be similar to the effect of aspirin.

    So my question is, was it definitely the Lander product or could you have been given an alternative with copper sulfate in it?

  • belassi

    January 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Definitely the Lander product. And definitely salicylate poisoning - I spoke to a doctor this morning. Looks like the label is (deliberately?) incomplete.
    Regarding copper sulphate, the only use I know of for that, was a topical treatment for fungal infections of the skin. May no longer even be used for all I know.

  • Pete

    January 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Yep. I was surprised to see such an ingredient. Goes to show how important it is to look what’s written on the bottle. Fortunate to them that most people don’t (or can’t if their eyesight is starting to go like mine).

  • Doreen

    January 21, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    I’ve used a 1% BHA leave on exfoliant for daily use on most of the face, I did wonder sometimes if the salicylic acid wouldn’t cumulate somehow and cause systemic side effects. I’ve never experienced side effects, but I kept it in mind. 

    On here more cases of intoxication after topical application, also the dizziness you mentioned.
    (The cases mentioned are 10% or much higer on inflamed skin and large areas of the body btw)

    Strange that they mention the 1% somewhere on the label but not in the ingredient list?

  • belassi

    January 21, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    I read that. Thanks for the link. The number of times that newbies come on here and talk about wanting to design skin peels and so forth with S.A.
    Dermal: Salicylic acid is readily absorbed from the skin and may induce toxicity (salicylism). Kinetics: Absorption by route of exposure: Salicylic acid is readily absorbed from the skin and may cause toxicity, particularly in children and the newborn.
    That Lander product by the way. It smells very strongly of methyl salicylate. I know the smell very well because I used to make it in chemistry class when I was teaching chemistry.

  • heraklit

    January 22, 2017 at 12:42 am

    That’s why we must be careful for what we put in our leave-on products, at least.
    Also must doing heavy metals detection tests.

  • johnb

    January 22, 2017 at 8:16 am

    The copper sulfate data given by Pete is from Safety Data information on the material per se, not on the tiny amount that would be found in a finished product.

    There are several cosmetics and semi-pharmaceuticals which contain the same material without issues.

  • Doreen

    January 22, 2017 at 11:19 am

    @johnb, Exactly, like sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH in tiny amounts for example.

    Maybe the menthol and or camphor also contributed in some way?

  • Pete

    January 22, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Yep, understand the point about the safe concentrations, but the same rational could be applied to salicylic acid - they assume that the products are applied correctly and that everyone’s skin is the same.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed the discussion and happy that Belassi is okay - although I guess you need a replacement product still, to treat the wrist problem long term.

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