Background Anti-aging effects of high concentrations of salicylic acid (SA) peels are commonly known. Like all acids, SA can produce somatosensory and visible irritation to the skin and as such may be unsuitable for subjects with sensitive skin.
Aims To provide evidence that sodium salicylate (SS) obtained from neutralization of 1% SA by sodium hydroxide can deliver significant anti-aging benefits.
Methods The effects of SS were examined using three approaches: (1) evaluating its effects on stimulating the synthesis of fibrillin and collagen-1 in vivo; (2) examining its efficacy by using Fast Optical in vivo Topometry (FOITS) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study; (3) determining its effects on both expert and naïve grader assessement of wrinkles in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Results In the first study SS produced significant increases of the fibrillin and collagen-1 anti-aging biomarkers compared with the untreated skin control. A commercially available retinol cream delivered similar effects to SS. In the second study using FOITS we showed that the SS formulation significantly reduced wrinkle depth (Rz) and skin roughness (Ra) after 4 and 8 weeks of daily application vs. placebo (Rz: −8.2 ± 1.40% and −11.4 ± 1.07%; Ra: −7.8 ± 1.33% and −11.9 ± 0.61%; P < 0.01). In the third study reductions in wrinkle depth were observed by expert assessment at both 4 and 8 weeks for the SS-containing formulation compared to its placebo (P < 0.05). Equally, non-expert graders recorded the SS formulation superior to its placebo.
Conclusion Although the mechanism of action is not completely understood, we believe the benefits of SS are derived from its intrinsic stratum corneum exfoliation effects. All three studies demonstrate the significant anti-aging effects of SS that are especially suitable for subjects with sensitive skin.