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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:

Medik8 Growth Factor ($160), Dr. Dennis Gross Original Alpha Beta Peel ($88 in the shop), Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Sheer Mineral Sun Spray ($42 in the shop), Sciote Micro Derm Crème ($60 in the shop), LIFTLAB Lift + Perfect ($250), E'shee Cellular Repairing Night Cream ($289 in the shop).

As much as possible, products in the Truth In Aging shop are chosen for their safety profile as well as effectiveness.

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