August 30, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol is typically used as a preservative in personal care products. It can also be one of the ingredients under the umbrella term "fragrance" listed on a product label. Phenoxyethanol began replacing parabens when the backlash against them started up. So the question is, are they any better than parabens?

Let's look into it, shall we? Phenoxyethanol is created from benzene, which is a known carcinogen, and then is treated with ethylene oxide (also a known carcinogen) and an alkalai.

In 1990 the International Journal of Toxicology published a report stating that phenoxyethanol at 2% concentration was an irritant to rabbit skin. An article published with the journal Envinronmental Health Perspectives found in an animal study that phenoxyethanol was a reproductive toxin. It was confirmed in a second study conducted by the Journal of Toxicology that phenoxyethanol was a reproductive toxin. A separate study found it to be a skin allergen in human trials. A more recent article, published in 2010, demonstrated that phenoxyethanol was an ovarian toxin for the exposed individual and was proven to effect the development of their offspring.

So what do you think? Would you choose phenoxyethanol over parabens?

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