What is Phenoxyethanol in Skin Care? Is it Safe? How to use it?

What is Phenoxyethanol in Skin Care? Is it Safe? How to use it?

Is there anything more frustrating than clearing out the fridge only to discover that half of the food within has gone bad? That is exactly what would happen to your skincare and cosmetics if there was no preservative. Skincare goods, particularly natural skin care products, must be kept in some way; otherwise, we'd be replacing our skincare as frequently as we replace our food.

You may be thinking that phenoxyethanol is a preservative right now. But take our word for it: today's preservatives are not what you think they are.

What is Phenoxyethanol?

In skin care, phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative. Although the phenoxyethanol used in skin care is synthetic (called "nature identical," it completely resembles the natural version), it is present in nature, notably in green tea and chicory. It prevents the growth of yeast, mold, and germs, which would otherwise end up on your skin!

Technically, phenoxyethanol is formed by the reaction of phenol (EU) and ethylene oxide (EU). Aside from being utilized as a preservative, it is also employed in vaccines. It's likely that many of the products you use to contain it, as it's one of the most often used skincare preservatives. Because phenoxyethanol can be found in anything from eye creams to moisturizers, it's important to understand what it does and doesn't do.

Name: Phenoxyethanol

IUPAC Name: 2-Phenoxyethan-1-ol

Formula: C8H10O2


What are the Benefits of Phenoxyethanol in Skin Care?

In skin care, phenoxyethanol is used to improve a product's quality, safety, and effectiveness. This is how it works:

  1. It prevents microbial growth
    Although it may sound unpleasant, your cosmetics serve as an ideal home (and food) for hazardous germs. It's all due to water and organic/inorganic substances, which can be present in almost every product. Phenoxyethanol aids in the battle against germs by causing holes in their membranes.
  1. It stabilizes products
    Phenoxyethanol is non-reactive with light or air and is compatible with many other preservatives. As a result, it's employed to keep ingredients from breaking down or separating, thereby keeping your product stable.
  1. It enhances the shelf life of your products.
    Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative to extend the life of a product. Its antibacterial and stabilizing characteristics keep the formula from spoiling, which would render it ineffective – and perhaps dangerous. This extends the amount of time you may use the product without experiencing any problems.

Are there any Side Effects of Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is widely accepted as a safe and well-tolerated preservative. Nonetheless, there have been a few reports of this medication having negative side effects.

The adverse effects of phenoxyethanol are exceedingly rare. (Think of them as the exception rather than the rule.) Phenoxyethanol is unlikely to cause dangerous or unpleasant effects when used at low amounts (less than 1%) prevalent in cosmetics.

Who should avoid the use of Phenoxyethanol?

Even if phenoxyethanol is considered low-risk, you can get sensitive to any substance. If you have sensitive skin, avoid using phenoxyethanol, including skin care products containing it.

Perform a patch test first if you suspect you have a phenoxyethanol allergy. Apply a tiny amount to the inside of your wrist. Keep a close check on the area during the next 24 hours. If you don't have an allergic reaction, you can keep using the product. If you experience a response, discontinue the use of phenoxyethanol.

How to use Phenoxyethanol?

If you are not allergic to phenoxyethanol, you can use it on a daily basis in a variety of goods. Because the component is included in so many different skincare products, the time of day and step in your routine you would use depends on the product.

Phenoxyethanol vs. Parabens and Other Preservatives

Preservatives aren't really a choice in skin care products because they're possibly dangerous (infections produced by germs on the face aren't a good look). As a result, the smartest thing to do is to use the safest preservatives possible.

Although the phenoxyethanol used as a preservative in skincare and cosmetics is a synthetic form, it does exist naturally, notably in green tea and chicory. The cosmetic ingredient review concluded that it is safe for use in skin care at low doses.

Parabens provide the same purpose as phenoxyethanol but are potentially carcinogenic (meaning they could cause cancer). The same is true with formaldehyde.

For these reasons, phenoxyethanol is a far superior option.


If you like paraben-free products, you've probably used phenoxyethanol on a regular basis. But don't worry, it's unlikely to cause irritation or negative effects. Not to mention, it's preferable to the alternative. Simply be cautious of the ingredients you use in general.

Frequently Asked Questions - Skin Benefits of Phenoxyethanol

What does phenoxyethanol in skin care do?

Phenoxyethanol acts as a preservative, extending the shelf life of skincare and cosmetics by limiting the growth of mold, bacteria, and yeast.

Can phenoxyethanol be harmful?

The usage of phenoxyethanol-containing goods has been connected to potentially fatal responses. If you do use phenoxyethanol as a preservative, keep track of how much you use each day, especially if you have children.

Is Phenoxyethanol natural?

Although phenoxyethanol can be found in nature (particularly in green tea and chicory), the type used in skin care is made synthetically and is "nature similar."

What are the benefits of phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol extends the shelf life of a product, inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungus in items, and aids in the stability of cosmetics. It has no skin-benefiting properties.

Is phenoxyethanol safe for sensitive skin?

Those with sensitive skin or eczema should avoid phenoxyethanol. If it does not irritate your skin, you can use it on a daily basis. It works well with the majority, if not all, of the ingredients.

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