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Phenoxyethanol, a Detailed Look at the Preservative Taking over the Internet


If you have made any recent purchases in skin care or beauty, you probably have noticed more and more of the top beauty manufacturers have started changing their formula to make their products paraben-free.  Parabens have fallen from grace in this industry because they have been linked to mimic some of the body’s hormone functions; this mimicking or imitation has been known to increase the risk of certain types of cancers.

Since the removal of parabens from certain products, a lot of companies have started adding phenoxyethanol in skin care products to replace them. Now we recently went over some of the most common skin care ingredients in our Chemistry of Skincare blog and phenoxyethanol was on this list, but today we’re going to go into greater detail of this ingredient.

What is Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is used as a stabilizer and preservative in many of our at-home skin and beauty products. It is most commonly found in moisturizers, conditioners, body washes, cosmetics, nail polish and even some baby care products. This preservative has been known to help prevent the growth of bacteria and elevate the shelf life of products. It is also a versatile ingredient that can help protect against pathogens in a variety of products.

Is Phenoxyethanol Safe To Use?

Phenoxyethanol has been approved or listed as safe for topical use by the FDA, the European Commission on Health and Food Safety and by Japan. As with any ingredient there are restrictions as to how much of it is allowed in a single product and most of these organizations have approved phenoxyethanol is safest in concentrations at 1% or less.

Because we are all genetically different and all have beautifully different skin and there is no single miracle skin care product on the market that can fix everyone and everything; there is a small chance you could be allergic to phenoxyethanol. In this case, if you are allergic to this ingredient, it is best to avoid any products containing it.  Even if you are not allergic to this ingredient, a good rule to put into practice when introducing a new skin care product to your skin, is to always do a test patch before using it all over the intended area.

What Does All This Add Up To?

At the end of the day the decision is yours when it comes to what ingredients you choose to avoid in the products you use.  When it comes to Phenoxyethanol, if you have no history of skin allergy you most likely don’t need to worry about being exposed to it. If you are still unsure you can always partner with your dermatologist to go over any skin care concern.

Skin MD products are 100% free from all parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), formadelhyde, toluene, propylene glycol, salicylates, gluten, latex, dairy, wheat, soy, peas, corn, animal products, animal testing, added fragrance, colorants, peanuts, and all other nuts. They have been dermatology tested and proven to be hypoallergenic, so you can use them with peace of mind.

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