Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in many cosmetic and skin care products. This glycol ether or in other words solvent is produced synthetically. It is also found naturally in plants. Therefore, phenoxyethanol is vegan.
Every person likely has products in their home that contain phenoxyethanol. Let’s find out why it is used, what it is made of, and whether it is safe.
What Is Phenoxyethanol? What Is Phenoxyethanol Made Of?
Phenoxyethanol is an organic compound. It is a colorless oily liquid that can be classified into glycol and phenol ethers. As a natural substance, it also occurs in some plants, such as green tea and chicory.
Although phenoxyethanol is also found in nature, the industrial variant is produced synthetically. This means that Phenoxyethanol is vegan-friendly.
The oil-like, slightly viscous, and rose-scented liquid is an alcohol-type preservative. Phenoxyethanol works well against bacteria, fungi, and mold. Phenoxyethanol is a stable substance that does not react with light or air. Or with other ingredients.
Phenoxyethanol is also used as an antiseptic, a fixative in fragrance oils, an insect repellent, a solvent for paints and resins, and in vaccines. It is also a popular preservative in many skin care products.
Phenoxyethanol is also known as ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, phenoxytolarosol, and rose ether. As well as 1-Hydroxy-2-phenoxyethane, β-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether and phenyl cellosolve.
Why Is Phenoxyethanol Used In Skincare? Is Phenoxyethanol Safe?
Phenoxyethanol is used in skincare because it prevents products from being attacked by microorganisms. Phenoxyethanol protects against bacteria, yeast, and mold. This ensures the product’s long-lasting shelf-life.
This vegan substance has a powerful effect. However, many dermatologists and medical specialists consider it harmful. That is due to its potential toxicity and allergen activity. As well as the effect on the endocrine system.
One research shows that phenoxyethanol could be irritating to the skin and lungs. It could also be neurotoxic. As well as toxic to the kidneys and liver. And could cause organ damage with long-term exposure. The risks are considered to be more significant for children than for adults.
So, phenoxyethanol could have a negative impact on the immune and nervous systems. However, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel, Food & Drug Administration nor European Economic Community say it is unsafe in concentrations of 1% or less.
FAQ About Phenoxyethanol
Phenoxyethanol is an oil-like, slightly viscous, and rose-scented liquid. It is an alcohol-type preservative. Phenoxyethanol works well against bacteria, fungi, and mold. Phenoxyethanol is a stable substance that does not react with light or air.
Yes. Phenoxyethanol is vegan. Although phenoxyethanol is also found in nature, the industrial variant is produced synthetically.
Many dermatologists and medical specialists consider it harmful. That is due to its potential toxicity and allergen activity. As well as the effect on the endocrine system. However, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel and Food & Drug Administration say it is safe in concentrations of 1% or less.
Phenoxyethanol is used as an excipient mainly in cosmetics and skin care. For example creams and lotions. However, it is a very popular preservative that can also be found, for example, in food.
The ingredient is produced synthetically but is also found in plants. For example, in green tea. However, some studies suggest that the substance is not beneficial for health.
Still, the Food and Drug Administration considers it safe in small amounts. So it is difficult to decide whether phenoxyethanol in skin care products is harmful or not.
Since phenoxyethanol is vegan, it can also be found in products of vegan brands. If you decide to avoid the substance, always read the ingredients list of the products. Luckily, there it is easy to find vegan skincare made with natural ingredients only.