What's Triggering Your Hives?

What Is a Salicylate Allergy?

Salicylates are chemicals found in plants and are a major ingredient in aspirin and other pain-relieving medications. They’re also naturally in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in many common health and beauty products.

What Are the Symptoms?

These vary but may include:

In severe cases, a salicylate allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction that is an emergency.

The content of salicylates can vary from one item to another and even among batches of the same item from the same source. Some people are more sensitive to these chemicals than others. People with a low tolerance may have an allergic reaction if they get more than a small amount of salicylate.

What to Avoid

If you’re allergic to salicylates, you’ll need to avoid items that have them.


They're in a variety of foods, medications, and cosmetics, including:

Foods That Contain SalicylatesProducts That May Contain SalicylatesSalicylate-Containing Ingredients
Fruits such as apples, avocados, blueberries, dates, kiwi fruit, peaches, raspberries, figs, grapes, plums, strawberries, cherries, grapefruit, and prunes

Vegetables such as alfalfa, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, broad beans, eggplant, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, and hot peppers

Some cheeses

Herbs, spices, and condiments such as dry spices and powders, tomato pastes and sauces, vinegar, and soy sauce, jams, and jellies

Drinks such as coffee, wine, beer, orange juice, apple cider, regular and herbal tea, rum, and sherry

Nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, and almonds

Some candies, such as peppermints, licorice, and mint-flavored gum and breath mints

Ice cream, gelatin

Fragrances and perfumes

Shampoos and conditioners

Herbal remedies

Cosmetics such as lipsticks, lotions, and skin cleansers

Mouthwash and mint-flavored toothpaste

Shaving cream

Sunscreens or tanning lotions

Muscle pain creams




Acetylsalicylic acid

Artificial food coloring and flavoring


Hydrobenzoic acid

Magnesium salicylate



Salicylic acid


Phenylethyl salicylate

Sodium salicylate



WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on May 31, 2020


SOURCE: The Food Allergy Initiative.

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