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What Is Phenoxyethanol And Why Is It Dangerous?

You may have noticed that our products do not contain certain ingredients, but do you know what they are and why we avoid them?

Here’s our concise guide to common skincare ingredient, phenoxyethanol.

What Is Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether, a solvent commonly used as a synthetic preservative and stabiliser in cosmetics and toiletries.

What’s The Problem With Using Phenoxyethanol In Skincare?

Phenoxyethanol is easily absorbed by the skin and is known to be neurotoxic if inhaled or digested (so it’s banned from babycare products). It’s also an irritant to the skin, lungs and digestive system and can trigger rashes, hives and eczema in those with sensitive skin, so its use in cosmetics and skin care is regulated to less than 1% of total formulation. However, there are concerns that people using more than one skincare product containing phenoxyethanol might surpass that limit quite easily.

How Do I Recognise Phenoxyethanol In Ingredients Lists?

It might be listed as: Phenoxyethanol, ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, 2-Phenoxyethanol, PhE, phenoxetol, phenoxyethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether or euxyl K® 400 (a mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane).

What Natural Alternatives Are There To Phenoxyethanol?

Although phenoxyethanol is classified as safe in low concentrations for the general population, our customers are overwhelmingly people who already have sensitive skin and are prone to allergies and eczema anyway: just the kind of people who are more likely to have a bad reaction to phenoxyethanol!

We’d rather avoid it completely.

All our oils and salves are anhydrous (ie made without water), so we don’t need to use preservatives in them at all.

Our products which do contain water either use a preservative system of essential oils, or contain a very tiny amount of pure alcohol to keep microbe growth under control.

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Posted on: Feb 07, 2019

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