SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo, that conatin 1% or less of phenoxethanol. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in cosmetics, it is only classified as toxic or harmful for products for use around the mouth. Animals studies that ‘demonstrate’ toxicity concerning any chemical is not accurate, only studies done on wiling humans are accurate. Phenoxyethanol is found in many cosmetics and other household products, it is used a preservative & known as a solvent. It is an oily, sticky liquid that has a very faint rose-like scent. Phenoxyethanol is also used in vaccines and textiles so you most likely have it in & around your home & body.


CAS No: 122-99-6. Other names: 2-Phenoxyethanol, Phenylglycol ether. Others: arosol, rose ether, ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, 2-Phenoxyethanol, PhE, dowanol, phenoxetol, phenoxyethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether & euxyl K® 400 that contains phenoxyethanol.


Phenoxyethanol is an alternative to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. In Japan and the EU, its concentration in cosmetics is restricted to 1%. Phenoxyethanol is used as an anti-bacterial in cosmetics as well as a stabiliser in perfume and products including creams, sunscreens, foundations, lipsticks, mascaras, hand sanitiser, soaps, insect repellents, antiseptics, dyes, inks and medications.


  • Phenoxyethanol - Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, APRN — Written by Cammy Pedroja, PhD on November 27, 2018: article for - When asked: Is phenoxyethanol safe? Cynthia says that "Deciding whether or not you want to use products with this chemical is a complicated decision. There’s conflicting data about its safety. Most of the concern stems from recorded incidents of bad skin reactions and nervous system interaction in infants."

  • FDA permits phenoxyethanol in cosmetics and indirectly in food.

  • The Cosmetics Ingredient Review agrees it is safe up to 1% or less usage.

  • European Commission on Health & Food Safety also agree that a 1% or less usage is safe for adults.

  • Japan has a 1% maximum usage restriction for phenoxyethanol.

  • Australia, NICNAS - has no restrictions.

Paula Says that: "Phenoxyethanol is a widely used synthetic preservative that has global approval for use in all cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%. It’s often used in even lower amounts, such as when combined with other ingredients like ethylhexylglycerin. In this case, lower amounts of phenoxyethanol can be just as effective as the maximum approved amount. Phenoxyethanol is incredibly versatile: It works in a large range of formulas and pH ranges, has broad spectrum activity against many pathogens you don’t want multiplying in your skincare products, is stable, and is compatible with many other preservatives used in cosmetics."


Amina Kitching