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* A preservative
* Also known as Ethylene Glycol Monophenyl Ether
* Please read TIA's articles on Phenoxyethanol and Is It Safe and The FDA’s Warning on Phenoxyethanol
* Please read TIA's other articles on What Is It: Preservatives and Parabens and Are They Safe? and What Is It: Natural Preservative Alternatives to Phenoxyethanol and Parabens
Phenoxyethanol, also known as Ethylene Glycol Monophenyl Ether, is a glycol ether and bactericide (that functions as a disinfectant, antiseptic or antibiotic) that is primarily used as a preservative in cosmetics and beauty products. It is also seen as a fragrance additive, a fixative for perfumes, an insect repellent ingredient in sunscreens, a topical antiseptic ingredient, and solvent (Wikipedia).
Phenoxyethanol has become a widely used ingredient because of its previously positive reputation as a relatively gentle preservative that is considered non-irritating; it is also one of the few preservatives that does not release formaldehyde. The CIR approves it for use and it is most often used as a preservative because of its ability to kill bacteria and stabilize formulas, extending their shelf life and making them safe for use (Source).
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
However. Studies have shown that Phenoxyethanol can be an extreme irritant to the eyes and skin, and can even cause blistering; it is hazardous in the case of ingestion and inhalation as well. The Cosmetic Database rates it as a moderate hazard and notes cancer, allergic reactions, skin, eye and lung irritation, organ and neurotoxicity as possible effects of using products containing Phenoxyethanol. It has shown effects on sensory organs even at low doses, and brain and nervous systems at moderate doses in animals, and causes cell mutation.
According to research, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data sheets show “chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy and reproductive damage in mice.”
Recommended Products w/ Phenoxyethanol:
LATHER Eucalyptus Foaming Foot Scrub with Pumice ($18), Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner ($18/7.8oz in the shop), Stemulation Facial Serum (0.5oz/$135 in the shop) Medik8 Growth Factor Youth Activating Serum (1oz/$185 in the shop). Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub, Murad Firm and Tone Serum for Cellulite, Hi ORAC-8 Sunscreen, , Dermalogica Soothing Shaving Cream with Daily Defense Block, 3Lab Perfect Glow Complex, Pevonia De-Aging Body Lotion,