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Questions and Answers about SalSearch

Why does the salicylate search engine SalSearch give no information about drugs?

The salicylate search engine (SalSearch) currently values only terms that are listed in the ingredient lists of cosmetics and are defined by the so-called INCI list. The reason for this is that the INCI list contains a manageable number of defined terms in English. The ingredients of drugs are often provided with individual additives, so that an automatic analysis is difficult.

What can I use SalSearch for?

The search engine SalSearch values ingredients of cosmetic products in terms of their salicylate content (with/without salicylate).

Why is the knowledge of the salicylate content of cosmetics especially important?

Cosmetics are getting in contact with skin. The salicylates possibly contained may enter directly into the blood and are only slowly broken down by the liver. Cosmetics with salicylates are the largest risk of blocking for Guaifenesin (with exception of mint and menthol in chewing gums, oral care products, etc.).

Why does SalSearch not value medications and dietary supplements?

For drugs and dietary supplements, the case is more difficult than for cosmetics. Here should be noted whether the material to be tested is an adjuvant or active ingredient, whether it is a topical product or lozenge or a tablet. In addition, the ingredients are listed in German and often contain additives (dye, preservative, etc). The lists in SalSearch are based on the unified INCI-lists, where all the ingredients are usually given in English. Therefore Salsearch cannot value drugs. For information concerning drugs please ask the GUAI GROUP.

Why does SalSearch not value food and food additives?

The ingredients of food are "metabolized" in the liver that means split to a large extent into the same chemically.  Salicylic acid (in normal amounts) such as those exist in the (normal) food portions, is reduced to a small quantity and thus not reaches the blood circulation. Therefore Guaifenesin users also can consume food safely. The situation is different for concentrates and extracts (juice, candy, licorice, tea, etc.), because there the salicylate is much higher. 

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Why does SalSearch not value detergent and laundry detergent?

Some detergents contain plant extracts that can be checked with SalSearch. All other ingredients (surfactants, etc.) are without salicylate. Everything in the washing machine will be "cleared" by the water solubility of salicylic acid.

What is the difference of the answers "automatically determined" and "verified manually by an expert"?

By single syllables of an unknown ingredient Salsearch can detect an existing salicylate danger. The additives oil, extract, etc., lead to a valuation with "minus points". The automatic evaluation works pretty reliable - but it can occasionally happen that a really salicylate free ingredient is rated as “contains salicylate”. The search engine is evaluating rather "over-cautious".
As "verified manually" marked results have been explicitly evaluated by a human and are reliable.

Why should you not enter additives such as stabilizer, antioxidant, emollient, etc.?

If you enter "Tocopherol (Antioxidant)", then the search engine considers the addition as part of the ingredient and does not recognize it, even though the addition in brackets actually only describes the nature or function of the before mentioned ingredient. The ingredient "tocopherol" without the addition is known by the search machine for example and produces a reliable result.
In doubt leave off additions and let the SalSearch evaluate the pure ingredient.

Why does SalSearch not answer requests for brand names or products?

Brand names, such as "Nivea", "Ombia" etc. are used for many different products with very different compositions.
Products such as "Penaten baby oil", etc. contain a whole list of ingredients that can change and must be evaluated individually.
SalSearch can only evaluate individual ingredients.

Why is there no evaluation for terms as "flavor", "color", "perfume", "vinegar", etc?

These are umbrella terms that may represent a mix of different, undisclosed ingredients. The term "vinegar" is also ambiguous, because it depends on the method of production, whether it may contain salicylates.

Why does SalSearch prefer INCI terms?

INCI is the name for the International nomenclature of cosmetic terms. So for example, an "extract from pansy" in the INCI spelling appears as "Viola Tricolor Extract". So always the terms of the cosmetic industry should be used by and will be recognized by SalSearch.

What happens to terms that could not be evaluated?

Terms that cannot be clearly evaluated are processed manually. Unidentified ingredients are researched and evaluated. Should they again be sought, they will be detected.
It is possible that unknown ingredients are falling through a filter grid and will not be edited so that they also in the future remain unknown. If you notice such ingredient, please contact us. 

What are the most common reasons that a term cannot be evaluated?

  • Errors as incorrect spelling, no comma between terms, etc.
  • Input of ingredients which are related to drugs, food supplements or other (non-cosmetic)
  • Input of brand names or products
  • Input of ingredients with additives that are not exclusively related to the ingredient
  • Input of German ingredients (often in natural cosmetics), as SalSearch works primarily with the standardized INCI terms (English)
  • Input of terms SalSearch does not (yet) know.
If an ingredient is considered to contain salicylate, does this mean automatically that Guaifenesin is blocked by the use of this product?

No, there is no automatism. The blocking probability by using cosmetic products with salicylate depends on

  • the actual salicylate content of the product
  • the frequency of use
  • the used quantity of the product
  • the size of the skin surface the product comes into contact with
  • the time the product remains on the skin (e.g. short hand washing with immediate rinsing or applying lotion)
  • the individual sensitivity to blocking effects
For this reason, Dr. St. Amand also recommends to avoid any cosmetic product that contains salicylates, since the probability of blocking cannot be estimated accurately. You are on the safe side, if you avoid consistently every salicylate source that gets in contact with skin. This will avoid blocking at best.
How the salicylates contained in perfume are evaluated?

Benzylsalicylate and plant extracts (e.g. oak moss extract), which occur in perfume, will be evaluated by SalSearch as “contains salicylate” because they just contain salicylates. However, since they are present in the perfume additive in cosmetic products in extremely low concentrations, they are considered non-blocking. However SalSearch values only the terms and cannot differentiate in what concentrations they are present in each case. This assessment you will have to make yourself if you want to use such a product.

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