Salix Alba Extract


Plant extracts

Salix Alba Extract at a glance

  • Plant extract with proven skin-soothing, antioxidant benefits
  • Contains beneficial compounds of salicin, polyphenols, and flavonoids
  • Also goes by the name willow bark
  • Often touted as a natural alternative to salicylic acid, however research shows the exfoliation association is questionable

Salix Alba Extract description

_Salix alba_ extract, also known as willow bark extract, is a plant extract with proven skin-soothing benefits. Some skin care brands tout this ingredient as a natural alternative to the salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliants. This association comes from the fact that willow bark contains salicin, a substance that when taken orally is converted by the digestive process to salicylic acid. It’s important to clarify the process of converting willow bark’s salicin into salicylic acid requires the presence of enzymes and other biological complexities. Further, salicin, much like salicylic acid, is stable only under acidic conditions. The likelihood that _Salix alba_ (willow) bark extract in the tiny amount used in cosmetics can mimic the effect of salicylic acid is questionable at best. That said, there are still benefits to _Salix alba_ (willow) bark extract in skin care. Studies indicate the salicin content can offer general anti-ageing properties for skin and its other beneficial compounds (including polyphenols and flavonoids) contribute to its antioxidant effects. In skin care, this ingredient is typically used in amounts of 0.5–1%, with a maximum recommended concentration of 10%. Amounts below 0.5% may be used in concert with other soothing ingredients, depending on formulary goals. *If you are allergic to aspirin, follow your health care provider’s advice about using skin care products with _Salix alba_ (willow) bark extract.

Salix Alba Extract references

  • PLoS ONE, October 2018, pages 1-27
  • Phytotherapy Research, August 2015, pages 1,112-1,116; and July 2011, pages 1,102-1,104
  • Free Radical Biology and Medicine, December 2013, pages 1,506-1,515
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2011, pages 416-420
  • Phytomedicine, December 2010, pages 1,106-1,113

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.