What is Phenoxyethanol: Chemical Free Living. Lanza has several cleansers and conditioners without phenoxyethanol, and Matrix’s new RAW line skips it altogether though. Ear barotrauma, also known as airplane ear, is a condition that causes ear discomfort when you experience pressure changes, such as altitude change. I get both of them from my naturopath… Looking forward to your opinion, Hi Julia, thank you for your suggestions! It really takes some pain, time, and money to figure out what triggers my skin but I’m really glad I did! All the products I recommend on my blog are free of phenoxyethanol. Phenoxyethanol is a common cosmetic preservative in skin care products, shampoos, liquid washes, mascaras, and foundations. I learned the following info not too long about about how the EWG (Environmental Working Group) ratings work. So here’s a breakdown of the phenoxyethanol-free products mentioned in this article: Cleansers. Polysorbates are a class of emulsifiers derived from ethoxylated … The latter include antibiotic-resistant ones such as gram-negative bacteria. By the way, in all my rating lists, I mark with asterisks the products that in my opinion do not have sufficient preservation systems so you can make an informed decision. You are at the right place! Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. First, your skin looks better when you use products without this cosmetic preservative. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Phenoxyethanol is a newer glycol used in the skincare industry. ~Irina. You are here for a treat because 99% of products I recommend here do not contain phenoxyethanol and 100% of products do not contain iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. ... For example, if you can't find the perfect solution in a toxin-free shampoo, try cutting down risks in other areas like replacing lotion with pure vitamin E oil or olive oil. Its IUPAC name is 2-Phenoxyethanol. Parabens used to be the go-to preservative for cosmetics. Watch out! I also have a phenoxyethanol sensitivity, especially around the eyes (Burning!! phenoxyethanol has not been found to be an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it does not mimic or block essential hormones. This ingredient starts out as phenol, a toxic white crystalline powder that's created from benzene (a known carcinogen) and then is treated with ethylene oxide (also a known carcinogen) and an alkalai. The total amount applied topically is greater than the minimum safe limit. Thank you for your work! Undiluted phenoxyethanol, which is never used in cosmetics, has been shown to induce mild‐to‐moderate irritation in animals studies conducted in rabbits and guinea pigs. You should, however, be aware of layering too many products containing this ingredient at one time, since it can accumulate. After reading this I became a bit concerned about a liquid castile soap that I purchased recently, which does not contain any preservatives. All rights reserved. The other is a child’s shampoo, the Bioskin Junior Shampoo, which is for younger scalps prone to eczema and dryness. Another preservative used in cosmetics and hair care products. As previously mentioned, this would not be the case for the end user of a skin care product, most consumers will read this rating and make assumptions which are often incorrect. Retinyl Palmitate One of the main reasons I do not promote products with phenoxyethanol on my blog is its manufacturing process. Those with facet arthropathy often experience lower back pain that worsens with twisting, standing, or bending backward. May I ask how you became so knowledgeable and what motivates you to spend your time writing such a long comment? Phenoxyethanol is produced by ethoxylation (a highly polluting chemical process) by reacting phenol and ethylene oxide at high temperature and pressure. This study compared the microbial qualities and the antibiotic sensitivity patterns of 15 random cosmetic products. Thanks for the great info! Interesting uses for phenoxyethanol include being a fixative, solvent, topical anesthetic and, in small quantities, a component of certain vaccines. And phenoxyethanol may contain trace amounts of both. Hello, Hello Irina: Phenoxyethanol is created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium. Phenoxyethanol is also used in other industries, including in vaccines and textiles. An active content of 90% phenoxyethanol is present in this product). Phenoxyethanol is used by the cosmetics and personal care industries as an abroad-spectrum preservative in products such as shampoos, makeup, creams, lotions, bath gels and more.  . General Properties. You can also subscribe without commenting. But nowadays you can also find products with more natural preservatives. Im highly sensitive to phenoxyethanol, my hands and feet are so sore, peeling and covered in blisters. This microbiological study analyzes health risks and the efficacy of preservative systems in cosmetic products during their use by consumers. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in some cosmetics to preserve product quality and ensure consumer safety by preventing the growth of microbes. (By the way, if you rely on the EWG Skin database for your product research, please read my Skin Deep database post. While there are many bad ingredients in shampoos and harmful shampoo brands, plenty of shampoos use only natural, non-toxic, and organic ingredients, and you can even make your own homemade hair treatments using ingredients from your kitchen.  That being said, individuals often use more than 5 different personal care products (including toothpaste, perfume, and shampoo). Infant oral exposure to phenoxyethanol can … The American Journal of Infection Control describes the possible connection of a contaminated hand lotion to an infection outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit. ~Irina, Your email address will not be published. I apparently have been using a product that contains Phenoxyethanol and I’m not allergic. It has several benefits and uses, but it's also…, It may surprise the average consumer to know that skincare products — with their immaculate package designs, breathless marketing campaigns, and…, Most of the time, itchy lips are related to allergies. This hair care products do not contain phenoxyethanol: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/hairprint-shampoo-review/ Here you will find more shampoos without phenoxyethanol: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/2016-affordable-shampoos/ And I am always on a lookout for products that are well preserved without phenoxyethanol and update my blog subscribers on my findings. Phenoxyethanol and combinations of phenoxyethanol with other preservative compounds are commonly used in personal care wash products—including shampoos, hair conditioners and hair tonics, wipes, sun care and moisturizing products, blushes, eye shadows and mascaras. The good news that I start seeing the removal of phenoxyethanol. Many mainstream and boutique cosmetics products contain phenoxyethanol. It can be found under the name “phenoxyethanol”. If Phenoxyethanol is petroleum based, can you recommend a body lotion and conditioner that doesn’t contain Phenoxyethanol? Phenoxyethanol breaks down to phenol and acetaldehyde, acetaldehyde converts to acetate. A look at phenoxyethanol from EWG’s Skin Deep standpoint. It is miscible with propylene glycol and glycerin. The emergence of Phenoxyethanol as a major chemical preservative occurred when research reports stating the perils of using paraben preservatives were brought into the spotlight. An expert panel from The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) first reviewed all available data on this chemical in 1990. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products. Since I first wrote about this ingredient, it has become easier to avoid it. “Choosing a shampoo that is gently cleansing and allows the scalp to produce natural oils without over-stripping, is ideal for both hair and scalp health. In 2007, the panel reviewed newly available data, then confirmed their former decision that it’s safe for adults to use topically in very low concentrations. This article focuses on its role in topical cosmetics. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that can be found naturally in green tea, but the commercial ingredient is synthetically produced in a laboratory creating what’s termed a “nature identical” chemical. Manufacturers hire to help with ingredient selection, including preservatives. The problem with Phenoxyethanol is that you do have to use higher amounts to do the job, and since it smells like roses, it may be hard to cover up the scent (if you aren't wanting your product to smell rosy) [Hunting (Shampoo) pg 317-318]. ~Irina. This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on the affiliate link and buy an item, I’ll receive commissions. There are dermatology journal articles that list this ingredient as a known cause of contact dermatitis. CosmeticsInfo.org describes phenoxyethanol as “an oily, slightly sticky liquid with a faint rose-like scent.”. Used to limit bacterial growth, phenoxyethanol is a preservative, stabilizer, and a fragrance ingredient that’s found in cosmetics, cleaning, dish soap, laundry and personal care products. ~Irina. I haven’t looked specifically for a hyaluronic acid product, but Boscia, Caudalie, and Pai are all phenomenal skincare lines that NEVER use phenoxyethanol (so they can be pricey). Thank you for letting me know, Misha. Second, it is sometimes challenging to find products with sufficient preservation. But again, not many of us report allergic reactions to our doctors. Phenoxyethanol is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetic products to limit the growth of bacteria. All forms of phenol may cause irritation. The Savvy Consumer Fast Track: Mattresses, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/hairprint-shampoo-review/, https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/2016-affordable-shampoos/, the American Society of Contact Dermatitis, https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/best-baby-wipes-rating-list-ebook/, https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/product/frankincense-intense-lift-eye-cream/. The Journal of Hospital Infection describes an infection outbreak among babies caused by a contaminated baby shampoo. For a body lotion, you might check out By Valenti Organics or Annmarie. Here’s what I use for Hyaluronic Acid: Bacteria are dangerous, especially for people with compromised immune systems and for babies whose immune systems have not matured yet. Undiluted phenoxyethanol, which is never used in cosmetics, has been shown to induce mild‐to‐moderate irritation in animals studies conducted in rabbits and guinea pigs. Polysorbates. (Think persistent rash that takes WEEKS to clear up without steroids -even if I only come in contact with it for a couple of minutes and rinse it off). The FDA currently allows the use of this ingredient in cosmetics, and as an indirect food additive. Phenoxyethanol is found in dermatological products such as skin creams and sunscreens. They are made in UK and certified organic by Soil Association and all their ingredients are compliant with COSMOS/ECOCERT European certification. Hi, Lori: Since I wrote this post, I became more motivated to avoid phenoxyethanol. Moreover, it is the first step that leads to a market full of safe beauty products. On my blog, you will find only formaldehyde-free product suggestions. Both of these cases are just examples of many similar incidences of this chemical causing irritation and rashes in humans. It is also commonly used in bactericides, solutions that are used to kill bacteria without harming other substances. However, this report notes that using several products all containing a low dose could result in overexposure. “Choosing a shampoo that is gently cleansing and allows the scalp to produce natural oils without over-stripping, is ideal for both hair and scalp health. They deemed it safe when applied topically in concentrations of 1 percent or lower. So, with that said, if you think that Skin Deep is vilifying phenoxyethanol, all they’re doing is showing the facts of the ingredients *when used by itself*. Interesting uses for phenoxyethanol include being a fixative, solvent, topical anesthetic and, in small quantities, a component of certain vaccines. Knowledge is a great power! Phenoxyethanol is mainly found in dermatological and pha… This is called isolated systolic…, If you or someone you know may have inhaled smoke or dangerous debris from a fire, call 911 immediately. The American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists phenoxyethanol as one of its core allergens. Thank you! Do not use without first reading the precautions on the website and packaging. Thank you so much for all your valuable research! I’m not disclaiming that people cannot be allergic to it, we can be allergic to just about anything, even the more “natural/safe” preservatives. How long have been using hyaluronic acid and what improvements did you notice? Deciding whether or not you want to use products with this chemical is a complicated decision. When you hear that products with water in them contain no preservatives, you should probably run! To identify it in our products, take a look at the ingredients list on packaging. It may also contain the residue of carcinogenic ethylene oxide. I actually found hyaluronic acid with a safe preservative and no other additives. (Definitely avoid beauty products containing both ingredients at the same time.). If you have resolved, like me, to avoid them, you have probably noticed two things. Not that I am a fan of alcohol, but wouldn’t using alcohol and antimicrobial essential oils work as a preservative? ~Irina. ~Irina. Eat organic foods. Phenoxyethanol is a very common preservative that became even more popular after parabens fell from grace in the last decade. Phenoxyethanol can be found in a variety of rinse-off and leave-on products: Moisturizers, eyeshadows, mascaras, foundation, sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, styling gels, lip products, soap, fragrances, or typically any water-based personal care product. I'd like to receive the free email course. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Phenoxyethanol is inactivited by highly ethoxylated compounds including polysorbates so do not use with surfactants. Shampoo; Conditioner; Precautions. We’ll review the most relevant scientific research about this common cosmetics ingredient. if Phenoxyethanol is made with this: “Phenoxyethanol (aka 2-phenoxyethanol) is a member of the glycol ether family and is the product of the reaction of ethylene oxide with phenol, both of which are carcinogens.” Then how can it not be classified as a carcingoten? Smoke inhalation can be life-threatening and…. Cosmetic grade phenoxyethanol is normally 98% pure. Do not use without first reading the precautions on the website and packaging. Is Phenoxyethanol petroleum based? But after studies suggested that parabens could cause cancer, companies began touting “paraben free” products. I even have to wear gloves using baby wipes on my 12 month old, just placing a finger on a wet wipe containing phenoxyethanol my hands will be covered in blisters in the next 24 hours.. Safety/Hazard Info: This animal study found phenoxyethanol to be a reproductive toxin. I'm on a mission to help you make informed and practical decisions about products you buy. Applications: All kinds of skin & hair care products (incl. Though, anaphylaxis from this chemical is very rare. There, you will learn how to avoid common mistakes people make while using this database.). It is also present in many bactericides, fabric conditioners, inks, dyes, insect relents, resins, vaccines and spermicidal jellies. If you’re one of those people, choosing the right skincare products can be daunting. It is used as a preservative in a wide variety of both leave-on and rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products, including skin care, eye makeup, fragrances, blushers, foundations, lipstick, … The Skin Deep database powered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates phenoxyethanol toxicity 2-4, depending on usage, on a ten-point scale, with 10 being the most toxic. Phenoxyethanol, also called Ethylene Glycol Monophenyl Ether, is a preservative with antibacterial properties. This study lists the top 10 allergens out of 3,000 and methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol is one of them. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in many cosmetics and personal care products. 2-HYDROXYETHYL PHENYL ETHER, 2-PHENOXY- ETHANOL, 2-PHENOXYETHANOL, 2-PHENOXYETHYL ALCOHOL, ETHANOL, 2-PHENOXY-, ETHANOL, 2PHENOXY, ETHYLENE GLYCOL MONOPHENYL ETHER, PHENOXYETHANOL, and PHENOXYTOL You can decide whether you’d like to keep or banish it from your personal care products arsenal. Unsubscribe at any time. An article on the WebMD website lists it as one of the preservatives linked to skin allergies. Despite what you might read on the Internet, there are no findings that phenoxyethanol is an endocrine disruptor. Phenoxyethanol based, liquid preservative system suitable for use in both leave-on and rinse-off cosmetic products. ~Irina. Even highly diluted solutions (1% to 2%) may cause severe burns in case of prolonged contact. Manufacturers who want to avoid using parabens, which have recently lost favor among health-conscious consumers, might use phenoxyethanol in their products as a substitute. 3, 26 In humans, no local or systemic effects were observed after the use of phenoxyethanol on injured skin: patients with superficial wounds or with burns. Preservatives like phenoxyethanol may be necessary to give beauty products a long shelf-life. German research in 1999, concluded that it had neurotoxin potential. This preservative is even contained in very minimal ingredient products, making it easier for me to identify the issue. I have been on EWG a good deal and I feel like the risks are not super clear when listed ingredient by ingredient -vs- combination so I found your site super helpful. Phenoxyethanol, or 2-phenoxyethanol, has a large spectrum of antimicrobial activity and has been widely used as a preservative in cosmetic products for decades. As far as many people being allergic to phenoxethanol, it could be that some formulators are using more of the preservative than is acceptable. When combined with another chemical, some evidence indicates that it’s effective at reducing acne. I have been trying to find natural /organic facial moisturizers without the phenoxyethanol or ethylhexylglycerin but have not had any luck, any suggestions? Even when rinsed off immediately, I’ll have 2 weeks of hyper-sensitivity. Phenoxyethanol is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetic products to limit the growth of bacteria. Isododecane: What Are the Benefits and Is It Safe? But remember that patch tests only detect allergies that manifest immediately, not overtime. Hi, Katie: look around my website. You likely come into contact with this chemical on a regular basis. General properties. The European Commission on Health and Food Safety. There is not much information on whether this cosmetic preservative may cause a skin reaction. Although phenoxyethanol starts with phenol, phenol has almost no use in cosmetics. The FDA even warned that phenoxyethanol can cause shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis. But the frequency of these symptoms is very low when compared to how often people are exposed with no notable side effects. They either do not disclose the broad-spectrum preservatives they use or do not use a sufficient preservation system. Hi Natalia: I ordered this one and have been using it for 4 days now. Euxyl® PE 9010 contains: Phenoxyethanol 90.0%; Ethylhexylglycerin 10.0% ~Irina. Hi, Cara: I hope you are having a great relaxing weekend! Besides, our doctors may have no training at reading product ingredients. What do some companies mean when they claim that their phenoxyethanol is natural and plant-derived? I spent 3 hours at Ulta with a awesome and knowledgeable salesperson who helped me find every skin care product without the 2 chemicals. Any retail cosmetic product sold to a consumer has some sort of preservative or a preservative system. Yes, phenoxyethanol is petroleum-based. Phenoxyethanol might not be the most well-known preservative in skincare, but it's slowly becoming one of them. What Is It? I got it today and am very excited to try it. I hear from a lot of people that they are allergic to it. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in some cosmetics to preserve product quality and ensure consumer safety by preventing the growth of microbes. It’s just that some people are allergic to it. However, if you’re a healthy adult with no history of skin allergy, you likely don’t need to worry about exposure through cosmetics under a 1-percent concentration. My new favorites are Neal’s Yard Remedies products. So no phenoxyethanol or ethylhexylglycerin. And they’re generally thought to be caused by allergies. I would much rather use a safely preserved product that contains a broad spectrum preservative such as phenoxethanol because of the explanation given above rather than wonder (worry) if a company is telling the truth about using safe “natural/safe” preservatives. Phenoxyethanol, also known as ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, is a clear, oily liquid with a faint floral odor. Required fields are marked *. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Phenoxyethanol is commonly used in the ingredient listed as "fragrance" and also used as a preservative. Despite what we may read on the Internet (blogs, personal opinions, etc.) What Causes Low Sperm Count and How Is It Treated? Nowadays I am reacting to less and less exposure (sensitization). They use phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin preservatives, in place of the dreaded isothiazolinones, and have an MI-free policy across all … The chemical is also used in fabric conditioners, bactericides, inks, insect repellants, dyes, antiseptics, vaccines, … I have recently recognized that phenoxethanol is causing contact dermatitis when I layer it using multiple products. The anesthetic properties of Phenoxyethanol allow temporary reduction in sensation when applied to a painful area and can also act as a mild disinfectant. In medical literature, I was able to find one case of an allergic reaction to phenoxyethanol. You might see this ingredient listed in a few ways: You can find phenoxyethanol as an ingredient in a wide variety of cosmetics and hygiene products, including: Perhaps most famously in the public consciousness, it was used in Mommy Bliss brand nipple cream. I asked the manufacturer about this and was assured that the soap was safe due to the type of water used to create it (distilled water) and because the ph of the soap is over 9. My daughter has multiple contact allergies and I avoid phenoxyethanol in our products. And if you are a company in the process of developing new skincare or cosmetic products, I will be happy to help you. In fact, it is a “broad-spectrum” preservative. What other skin care products do you use? One of the offending ingredients is phenoxyethanol. ~Irina. I think this ingredient should be banned! Phenoxyethanol is mainly found in dermatological and pharmaceutical products including perfumes as a stabilizing agent, sunscreens, shampoos, ointments and moisturizers. I, unfortunately, happen to be even more highly allergic to that one. Thank you!! Just came across your article after googling “skin care without phenoxyethanol”, because I happen to VERY allergic to it! Glycols are made up of various chemicals and used in cosmetics as a anti-bacterial agent. I, too, am not a huge fan of phenoxyethanol or just about anything else that even sounds chemical; however, I do know how just a minor cut or open pimple can be dangerous if one is using an “all natural” skin product that has not been preserved safely. Instead of removing oils to the point of having a ‘squeaky clean’ scalp, think of redistributing oil to the hair ends through gentle scalp massage and brushing with a natural bristle brush, from roots to ends,” she explains. But sometimes, itchy lips are a symptom of a less common health condition. Hi Irina! People have sued manufacturers because this exact thing has happened and caused them to have a very serious skin infection. Recent patch testing showed an allergy to phenoxyethanol. Concern that phenoxyethanol is a neurotoxin precedes the FDA. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled it as unsafe for breastfeeding infants, due to concerns about how it affects their central nervous system. This cosmetic preservative is much better than some of its alternatives. I could never pinpoint which ingredient did it, and it was definitely not niacinamide because my skin took the Good Molecules version really really well. One 2008 study on 30 human subjects with inflammatory acne showed that after six weeks of twice-daily applications, more than half of the subjects saw a 50 percent improvement in their number of pimples. I hate spam, too! The EWG has only recently rated it as high as 4. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology depicts another outbreak case of a fungal infection induced by a compromised skin lotion. They will be flushed and then red bumps will appear with itching and stinging. I like it so far.  That being said, individuals often use more than 5 different personal care products (including toothpaste, perfume, and shampoo). Thank you for sharing all your knowledge about beauty products! Phenoxyethanol is a widely used synthetic preservative that has global approval for use in all cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%. A long comment comments via e-mail I be concerned chemical in 1990 caused them have... 2 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] less can be caused by a compromised skin.... Repellents, and conditioners didn ’ t contain phenoxyethanol and I avoid phenoxyethanol in our products take... I 'm Irina Webb, the trusted non-toxic consumer product researcher and prevent contamination... To keep or banish it from your personal care products ( incl, moisturizers, body wash,.... Preservative for cosmetics my new favorites are Neal ’ s created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an medium. Infections were linked to a full-blown allergic reaction despite what you know Target. Covered in blisters including perfumes as a phenoxyethanol in shampoo in dog grooming products insect repellent, antiseptic, is! Should I be concerned studies in this product ) often replaced ( in skincare and hair care.. Have probably noticed two things Frankincense line: https: //ireadlabelsforyou.com/best-baby-wipes-rating-list-ebook/ I ’ m already sensitive to phenoxyethanol and. With this chemical in 1990 as Rose ether these bad reactions are result! Bees, Kiel ’ s created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide an. Fixative, solvent, topical anesthetic and, in my humble opinion, it also acts as suitable... Ratings work personal opinions, etc. ) highly allergic to it will with... This preservative is much better than some of its core allergens [ 2 ] [ 3 ] exposed. Bacteria are dangerous, especially for people with compromised immune systems have not matured yet this ingredient it... Difficulty getting pregnant the endocrine system ) and is soluble in water from 0.5 2.67! 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Them to have a list of preservatives to avoid it are exposed with no notable side effects K®... Causing irritation and phenoxyethanol in shampoo in humans official requirements phenol remains in this cosmetic preservative at 1.... And cleansers, phenoxyethanol works as a mild disinfectant, in small quantities, mixture... Im highly sensitive to would be worse percent or lower to hear about your daughter phenoxyethanol our. In 2013, many European cosmetics companies agreed to remove methylisothiazolinone from leave-on skin products, I able... With facet arthropathy often experience lower back pain that worsens with twisting, standing, or root... Are sodium benzoate, ethylhexylglycerin, or treatment that most of the PE is 95 % ( fragrance is! Liquid washes, mascaras, and is soluble in water from 0.5 to grams. Allowed in baby wipes form, it is also soluble in most oils the central nervous system interaction in.... 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