Phenoxyethanol in Skin Care: Best Reasons for You to Know

A preservative normally that is used in various cosmetic products that you use in your daily life. You can find this as an ingredient in various skin care products.

People are using this ingredient but are not known for it. Phenoxyethanol can also be called glycol ether1. It can be found in various other products that we use in our daily lives.

Now many people must be wondering if phenoxyethanol in skincare would help or not. For them, this article may help in finding out all about Phenoxyethanol in skin care routine.

Meaning of Phenoxyethanol

It’s a type of preservative that can be added to various products. Normally phenoxyethanol can be found in various skincare, cosmetics, and various personal care ranges. Its texture is mildly thick.

The consistency of this is generally oily. Now you must be pondering if phenoxyethanol is safe to use or not. This article may help you find a solution.

Working Structure of Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol in skin care can also work as a stabilizer that can become ineffective within a few seconds. These are normally present in skincare.

You can also find this preservative in soaps, cleansers, and makeup products. The purpose of this ingredient may vary according to the specification of the products. There are various benefits of adding phenoxyethanol to cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and other preservatives.

4 Benefits of Phenoxyethanol

Check out the 4 benefits of Phenoxyethanol in the following pointers:

1. Phenoxyethanol a Preservative

Ether alcohol is normally extracted from green tea but prepared in a lab. People are using various products having ether alcohol as an ingredient, but they may not identify that.

The most important purpose of using this is to increase the shelf life of that product. Preservatives are great for preventing any products from spoiling. It can provide safety to the product by keeping it fresh for a long time.

Read more about the benefits of Phenoxyethanol.

2. Ether Alcohol is a Great Stabilizer

We always need something that can maintain the stability of any product. Various ingredients are present in a product that may react to each other or the person using it.

Studies showed that  Phenoxyethanol in skin care could maintain the stability of any cosmetics or skincare products. It can also prevent products from reacting to external factors such as air and light.

3. Antimicrobial Properties of Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol2 is enriched with anti-microbial properties. Research shows that it can reduce or prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Reports say that ethanol can kill bacteria by taking away the bacteria, microorganisms, or viruses’ natural qualities or proteins. These can also be effective in reducing the growth of yeast and can also prevent them from surviving.

4. Phenoxyethanol Aids Cleansing

Phenoxyethanol is one of the most controversial ingredients. Ether alcohol is used in cleansers to prolong shelf life. It can keep the cleanser safe and secure for a long time.

Adding phenoxyethanol to skin care is just like adding security coverage to the product you will use in your daily life. The nature of ether alcohol can be considered versatile.

It can also be used for cleaning wounds as it kills bacteria, microbes, and viruses. It will keep your body free from allergic reactions (if used appropriately).

Need for Phenoxyethanol in Skin Care Products

The main motive behind adding phenoxyethanol to various skin care products may vary with the product category.

In cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, this skincare ingredient is added to maintain that particular product’s potency.

It will aid better cleansing by keeping the cleansers free from soiling or splitting their essence. The various studies showed that this is one of the safe preservatives if used in a small amount (or appropriate amount).

Phenoxyethanol can be used as various cosmetics ingredients for its stabilizing and preserving properties3.

Cosmetics are made up of chemicals. They may be good chemicals. But still, chemicals may react. Keeping this in mind, we need to stabilize that cosmetic (makeup) here, the role of phenoxyethanol can be seen.

Have you ever added a full-size lemon to a minimal quantity of water? Then you need to neutralize it so that it won’t give a bad taste. Here you can relate this to the role of phenoxyethanol.

3 Side Effects of Phenoxyethanol

3 side effects of Phenoxyethanol are as follows:

1. High Concentration May Work as a Skin Irritant

High concentrations of ether alcohol may cause an allergic reaction. There is a report from the Cosmetic Ingredient Review that states ether alcohol is a safe ingredient.

But the uses of this preservative may not exceed more than 1 per cent in any product. The same has also been stated by The European Commission on Health and Food Safety.

The study also showed that phenoxyethanol in skin care might cause rashes, eczema, and hives in some humans. Hives may be life-threatening in some cases.

2. May Cause Contact Dermatitis

Phenoxyethanol is present in ultrasound gel that may cause contact dermatitis4. Ultrasound gel has 70% of alcohol in it (say) which may cause some allergic reactions.

Alcohol is always not safe to use as this may lead to sensitizing skin for more unwanted reactions.

Read more about Phenoxyethanol in ultrasound gel5.

3. May Cause Vomiting (For Human Body)

One should not exceed the upper line of ethanol dosage as it may cause agitation and vomiting. While using any skincare product in which phenoxyethanol is present.

One should take care that it should not enter your eyes or mouth. As it may cause various side effects if entered into your body.

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that can be safe if it doesn’t exceed more than 1% in that product. Some studies showed that phenoxyethanol in skin care could be harmful sometimes for some humans. And can also cause low blood pressure and excess urination.

As they may decrease the level of blood pressure slightly if taken internally.

Alcohol is not safe for all. One should avoid using phenoxyethanol in skincare if they are:

  1. Infants
  2. Pregnant women
  3. Breastfeeding women

If you are a healthy human and without any previous skin allergies, then you may include this within the proper guidance about the product.

It’s always more convenient to talk with your doctor before adding skin care products to your skin.

Various reports certified Phenoxyethanol as a safe ingredient. But still, various drawbacks can’t be snubbed.

Phenoxyethanol can be safe if used properly. Humans are not the same or with the same skin type and preferences. For example, if you have a sensitive skin type, you may not try it in your skincare range.

Phenoxyethanol or Parabens: Which is Better?

Rather than taking both of them as competitors, it would be better to call either alcohol a safer option. Phenoxyethanol is safer as compared to parabens. Let’s understand the reason behind this.

Parabens can be identified as esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid6, and this is used as a preservative in various skincare products that may interrupt the hormone function, as per reports.

This may lead to various chronic diseases. Whenever it comes to health concerns, people always crave an alternative with safer security without any side effects.

Here the fame may be transferred to Phneoxyethano (ether alcohol). Phenoxyethanol is a better option.  If you want to skip preservatives, then do it at your own risk.

There are various critics of the drawbacks of Phenoxyethanol. But what if you eat a lot of vitamin C or collagen? Yes, this may kill you.

Likewise, if you don’t follow how much is required, excessively using anything can always be a menace. Parabens are never considered friendly to your body and skin.

It would help if you always thought of something that your body can adapt to easily without any side effects. Even if not taken internally.

Green Tea: Source of Phenoxyethanol

Though this preservative is synthesized in the lab, you can still find it in green tea naturally. People are always pondering about something that can be added naturally.

Organic products are always more appropriate than these lab things. It’s not that they don’t provide you the benefits as organic things will. But the thing is, artificial things are never trustworthy.

It’s always better to stick to natural and organic things. That is a different concern if the requirement is high. For example, if you are not suffering from any skin issues.

It’s just that if you want to add some excellent preservatives to your skincare, then you can use Phenoxyethanol, but green tea naturally would always be a priority.

People always need ready-to-use things, and they forget the benefits of organic things.

Read more about Green tea.

Read more about White tea and Green tea.

Key Takeaways

Phenoxyethanol can add extra benefits to your skincare range by keeping it ready to use for a long time. Before adding Phenoxyethanol, it’s always better to do a touch test.

Skincare can directly affect your face as well as your body. It’s always important to check the composition before using any skincare.

Various skin care products contain Phenoxyethanol for a specific purpose. And another important thing is to read the percentage of ingredients.

Alcohols are not always safe if taken excessively. You should also be very conscious while taking applying any face care product if there is phenoxyethanol in it.

A little bit of this chemical inside your body can cause distortion. Therefore trusting natural preservatives is safer than trusting harmful and artificial preservatives.

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  1. Hardin, Bryan D. “Reproductive toxicity of the glycol ethers.” Toxicology 27.2 (1983): 91-102. ↩︎
  2. Ahn, Gi-Woong, et al. “The studies on the development of low irritable preservative system with Phenoxyethanol in cosmetics.” Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists of Korea 31.1 (2005): 43-49. ↩︎
  3. Frølich, Karin W., et al. “Phenoxyethanol as a nontoxic substitute for formaldehyde in long‐term preservation of human anatomical specimens for dissection and demonstration purposes.” The Anatomical Record 208.2 (1984): 271-278. ↩︎
  4. Kolodziej, Michaela, et al. “Allergic contact dermatitis to phenoxyethanol: a rare, but possible cause of hand dermatitis.” Contact Dermatitis 86.4 (2022): 319-320. ↩︎
  5. Al-Nima, AMINA M., et al. “Preparation and evaluation of ultrasound transmission gel.” Asian J Pharm Clin Res 12.1 (2019): 422-427. ↩︎
  6. Manuja, Rohini, et al. “A comprehensive review on biological activities of p-hydroxy benzoic acid and its derivatives.” Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res 22.2 (2013): 109-115. ↩︎

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