Zinc Thiosalicylate: What Is It, Cosmetic Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: February 26, 2024
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of cosmetics can often feel like trying to decipher a complex scientific formula, especially when you’re confronted with a myriad of scientific names on product labels. One such ingredient that you may have come across is Zinc Thiosalicylate. This article aims to delve into the nitty-gritty of this ingredient, exploring its role and significance in cosmetic products.

What is Zinc Thiosalicylate?

Zinc Thiosalicylate, also known as Zinc, Bis[2-(Mercapto-S)Benzoato-O]-, is a versatile ingredient used in the cosmetic industry. This compound is primarily used for its antioxidant properties, but it also serves as a hair and skin conditioner.

The production of Zinc Thiosalicylate involves a chemical reaction between zinc and thiosalicylic acid. Once incorporated into a product, it works by neutralizing harmful free radicals, thus protecting the skin and hair from oxidative stress. Additionally, it helps to improve the texture and appearance of skin and hair, making them feel softer and look healthier.

You’re more likely to find Zinc Thiosalicylate as part of a wider formulation of ingredients within a product’s formulation rather than as a stand-alone product. It’s often included in skincare and haircare products to enhance their antioxidant and conditioning properties.

Who Can Use Zinc Thiosalicylate?

Zinc Thiosalicylate is a versatile ingredient that’s suitable for all skin types. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, you can benefit from the antioxidant and conditioning properties of this ingredient.

As for dietary preferences, Zinc Thiosalicylate is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. This is because it’s a synthetic compound that doesn’t involve the use of any animal-derived ingredients or by-products in its production.

Regarding its use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, there’s no specific information suggesting that Zinc Thiosalicylate is unsafe. However, as with any ingredient, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Zinc Thiosalicylate’s Cosmetic Benefits/Uses

The benefits and uses listed in this section are strictly the cosmetic benefits and uses of Zinc Thiosalicylate. It’s important to note that this ingredient may have applications in multiple different industries, which are beyond the scope of this article. The following are the benefits of Zinc Thiosalicylate based on its official functions as an antioxidant, hair conditioner, and skin conditioner:

  • Antioxidant Properties: Zinc Thiosalicylate acts as a potent antioxidant in cosmetic formulations. Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. In the context of skin care, this means that Zinc Thiosalicylate can help protect the skin from the damaging effects of environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation. By neutralizing free radicals, it can help prevent premature skin aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation.
  • Hair Conditioning: Another significant benefit of Zinc Thiosalicylate is its hair conditioning properties. As a hair conditioner, it works by improving the texture and appearance of hair, making it softer, smoother, and more manageable. It achieves this by coating the hair shaft, filling in any rough spots or damage on the hair cuticle. This not only makes the hair easier to comb and style but also gives it a shiny, healthy appearance.
  • Skin Conditioning: Zinc Thiosalicylate is also a skin conditioner. Skin conditioners are ingredients that help maintain the skin’s appearance and health by retaining moisture and improving its texture. Zinc Thiosalicylate achieves this by forming a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, preventing moisture loss and keeping the skin hydrated. This results in softer, smoother, and more supple skin. Additionally, its antioxidant properties also contribute to its skin conditioning function by protecting the skin from environmental damage, which can lead to dryness and roughness.

Potential Side Effects/Adverse Reactions

The side effects and reactions to Zinc Thiosalicylate can vary greatly from person to person. This is due to individual differences in skin type, sensitivity, and overall health. It’s important to remember that while some people may experience no side effects at all, others may have a different experience.

Potential side effects of Zinc Thiosalicylate may include:

  • Skin irritation or redness
  • Dryness or flaking of the skin
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Allergic reactions such as hives, rash, or swelling

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Zinc Thiosalicylate, it’s important to stop using the product immediately and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can provide guidance on how to manage these symptoms and whether it’s safe for you to continue using the product.

Adverse reactions to Zinc Thiosalicylate are generally rare, but they can occur. This is especially true for individuals with sensitive skin or those who are allergic to salicylates. It’s always a good idea to monitor your skin’s reaction to any new product or ingredient.

This brings us to the importance of patch testing. Before incorporating a new product into your skincare routine, it’s recommended to perform a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of the product to a discreet area of skin, such as the inside of your wrist or behind your ear, and waiting 24-48 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur. This can help you avoid potential skin irritation or allergic reactions. For a detailed guide on how to perform a patch test, you can refer to our patch testing guide.

Comedogenic Rating

Comedogenicity refers to the potential of a substance to cause comedones, which are skin blemishes often associated with acne. These blemishes occur when pores become clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells. In the context of cosmetic ingredients, a substance’s comedogenic rating indicates its likelihood to clog pores and potentially lead to acne breakouts.

Zinc Thiosalicylate has a comedogenic rating of 0. This means it is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores. The rating is based on the molecular structure and properties of Zinc Thiosalicylate. It is a zinc salt of thiosalicylic acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These properties help to reduce excess sebum production and prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, thereby reducing the likelihood of pore clogging.

Given its non-comedogenic nature, Zinc Thiosalicylate is suitable for individuals prone to acne or breakouts. It can be used in skincare products without the risk of causing or exacerbating acne.


Zinc Thiosalicylate serves multiple functions in cosmetic products. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from harmful free radicals. It also conditions the skin and hair, improving their texture and appearance.

Despite its beneficial properties, Zinc Thiosalicylate is not widely popular in the cosmetic industry. It is similar to other zinc salts used in skincare products, such as Zinc PCA and Zinc Gluconate, which are more commonly used due to their well-documented benefits and safety profiles.

In terms of safety, Zinc Thiosalicylate is generally safe to use. It is non-comedogenic and does not irritate the skin. However, as with any ingredient, it is always recommended to perform a patch test before incorporating it into your skincare routine, especially for individuals with sensitive skin.

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