Learning about the ingredients in skincare products seems like a never-ending task. Being aware of the different ingredients and what they actually do helps you make more informed decisions about what you choose to put on your skin. Phenoxyethanol in skin care is one ingredient you should learn about and what its benefits are in a skincare product.
What is Phenoxyethanol?
Saying phenoxyethanol is a mouthful but it’s easier than some of its many other names like ethyene glycol monophenyl ether, 2-hydroxyethyl, 1-hydroxy-2-phenoxyethane, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether or Glycol monophenyl ether.¹
It is a colorless, clear and oily liquid that has a slightly sweet and pleasant smell. It is an ether (an alcohol) that is naturally found in green tea but is often created synthetically in a lab.² Phenoxyethanol is used in many products that range from moisturizers, make-up, sunscreen, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners and perfumes, just to name a few.
What Does Phenoxyethanol do?
Phenoxyethanol is a colorless ether (alcohol) that is used as an antiseptic to help stop the growth of microorganisms in a product. It’s an effective preservative in skin creams, extending the shelf-life, stability and strength of the product. It can also be used as a solvent, keeping ingredients from separating.
Let’s talk about its functions in a little more detail, shall we?
Phenoxyethanol, used as an antiseptic, helps to stop or slow down the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds in a product. It’s quite common in skin creams, helping to keep up the quality and effectiveness of the product so that it will last longer without spoiling.
Did you know that your creams and lotions are the perfect host for bacteria and mold growth? This means that without any preservatives, your creams would quickly become contaminated with bacteria, yeast and mold which renders them ineffective and unsafe – and you definitely don’t want to be smothering your skin in bacteria-laden products, do you?
(There is a reason why skincare products have an expiry date which you should always stick to!)
Phenoxyethanol can also be used as a solvent, which means that it helps ingredients dissolve and mix together so they don’t separate and create an oil-and-water-like situation.
Lastly, the gentle, natural floral fragrance is also a pleasant addition to a product it is used in.
The Ingredients in Your Skincare Products
The challenge is to find ingredients that do what you need in a skincare product while also being safe on the skin. There is a clear increase of use of phenoxyethanol in skincare products as a replacement for parabens, which have potential links to cancer and are quickly becoming a much avoided ingredient.³ This is why all Skin MD Natural products are paraben-free and use safer, non-irritating alternatives such as phenoxyethanol. All of the ingredients in Skin MD Natural shielding lotions are carefully selected and have a proven effect, are gentle on the skin yet effective for protecting your skin and healing symptoms like dry and cracked skin, contact dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
The next time you see the name phenoxyethanol on a skincare product ingredients list, you’ll know why it’s there and what benefits it brings. Phenoxyethanol in skin care is becoming more common for a reason - it’s safe and it works.