Is Phenoxyethanol in Skincare Safe?

Model applies Phenoxyethanol-free skincare product to her face.

The clean beauty revolution is consumers’ way of protecting themselves from potentially dangerous chemicals in skincare and cosmetics products. But while there are clean beauty brands who are genuinely committed to creating products without harmful chemicals, the sad and scary reality is that many brands don’t adhere to these standards – even if they are marketed as “clean” or “natural”. Phenoxyethanol is one such harmful chemical in skincare that all too often finds its way into our bathroom cabinets, leaving us at risk of harmful reactions or worse!

In this blog, we’ll find out exactly what this chemical is and how we can prevent exposure by investing in Phenoxyethanol-free skincare and cosmetics.

What is Phenoxyethanol and what is it used for?

Phenoxyethanol is a type of synthetic preservative with a floral scent. For this reason, it’s not only used to prolong the life of beauty products but as a fragrance, too. Moreover, Phenoxyethanol is used in skincare products to prevent formulas from separating.

Is Phenoxyethanol dangerous?

The FDA has issued warnings stating that the ingestion of the chemical by infants can depress the central nervous nervous system and the respiratory system when mixed with another chemical called chlorphenesin. This combination of chemicals also increases the potential to cause irritation, even in adults. Other studies have shown that Phenoxyethanol in skincare can cause reactions ranging from eczema to hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Shockingly, the FDA still allows companies to use Phenoxyethanol as a preservative in skincare products. Likewise, the EU also considers the chemical safe for use in cosmetics but only at a concentration of 1% or less. 

However, while exposure to tiny amounts may be safe for the most part, using several products containing Phenoxyethanol can lead to a buildup way over the maximum recommended amount with potentially dangerous consequences.

What types of products contain Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is used in the following products:

  • Makeup
  • Soap
  • Perfume
  • Face masks
  • Toner
  • Moisteruiser
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Makeup remover
  • Sunscreen
  • Serums

How to find Phenoxyethanol-free skincare

Since so many products contain this harmful chemical, it’s important to read the label of your products and look out for one of the many variations of Phenoxyethanol, even if the product is marketed as “natural”. These include (source):

  • phenoxyethanol
  • phenoxyethyl alcohol
  • beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether
  • ethylene glycol monophenyl ether
  • PhE
  • dowanol
  • arosol
  • rose ether
  • Phenoxetol
  • 2-Phenoxyethanol
  • euxyl K® 400, a mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane

Choose Phenoxyethanol-Free Skincare

Whether you’re prone to skin conditions like eczema or simply want to reduce your toxin load, choosing Phenoxyethanol-free skincare is the safest choice.

All of our products at LA FERVANCE are guaranteed to be free of any harmful chemicals, including Phenoxyethanol, so you can get gorgeous, glowing skin at no cost to your health.

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