If you have ever come across spoiled food, then you understand how annoying it feels, with the awful smell and popping molds. This would happen to your cosmetics and skin care products if they did not have some preservatives. Natural skin care products must be preserved to keep them usable for a long time.
While the chemical content of these products may sound scary, today’s preservatives are much safer. Phenoxyethanol is one of these products, but its safety is still a concern among skeptical users. If you are one of them, we will address your concerns and give directions for usage.
What is Phenoxyethanol?
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative for skin care products, toiletries, and perfumes. It is a colorless, oily substance with a rose-like odor. Naturally, phenoxyethanol is found in chicory and green tea. It inhibits the development of yeast, mold, and bacteria that may end up on your skin.
Phenoxyethanol is formed through reacting phenol (EU) and ethylene oxide (EU). Besides being a preservative, it is also used in vaccines. Skin care products with phenoxyethanol include moisturizers, eye creams, and more.
Is Phenoxyethanol Safe for Use in Skincare
Phenoxyethanol is safe for cosmetics if it is used in concentrations of 1% or less. The ≤ 1% inference is also the European Commission on Health and Food Safety standard. However, the popularity of this substance as a cosmetic preservative has raised some concerns about its safety.
However, skin care products with this substance should not be used on kids under three years old who might ingest it. Even when applying these products, use them on parts of the body where a baby will not lick or suckle the skin.
Why is Phenoxyethanol Added to Cosmetics?
Phenoxyethanol is a great stabilizer in fragrances, soaps, perfumes, and cleansers. Some of its distinct benefits include;
- Prevents Microbial Growth
Cosmetic products provide conditions for harmful microorganisms to grow. This happens because of these products’ water and organic/inorganic compounds. By adding phenoxyethanol, it prevents bacteria and mold growth. It creates holes in the bacteria, making them implode. In addition, it disrupts the DNA and RNA synthesis in yeast and bacteria to prohibit reproduction. These microbes will, therefore, not multiply or contaminate your skin care products.
- Stabilizes Products
Phenoxyethanol is compatible with various preservatives because it never reacts to air or light. It can help in stabilizing skin care products by preventing separation and breaking. It can also work in various formulas due to the wide range of ph.
- Improves Product Shelf Life
Phenoxyethanol, as a preservative, extends the lifespan of a particular product. In addition, its stabilizing and antimicrobial properties protect the formula from spoilage that may render the product unsafe and useless. It, therefore, allows you to use your skincare products for a long time without going bad.
Also Read: A Guide to Food poisoning and Its Types
When is Phenoxyethanol Unsafe for Use?
- If you are allergic
If you are allergic to phenoxyethanol, you may notice rashes or hives on your skin at the point of application. In addition, when used with parabens, you may experience anaphylaxis because they enhance the effects of phenoxyethanol.
- If you have Eczema
If Eczema makes your skin sensitive, avoid using skin care products with higher phenoxyethanol concentrations. If you experience any reaction, do not proceed with usage. Once you stop using the product, you will notice your skin reaction clearing up in a few days or weeks.
If you are concerned about the ingredients that go into making your skin care products, phenoxyethanol should not be as scary. It is approved to be safe when used in small amounts. It does well than other preservatives out here, like embalmers and formaldehyde.