- Categories: Preservatives
Benzyl Alcohol at a Glance
- An organic alcohol that can be found naturally in some fruits
- Serves chiefly as a preservative in cosmetics products
- Considered one of the least sensitising preservatives in use
- Deemed safe for use in concentrations up to 5%
Benzyl Alcohol Description
Benzyl alcohol is an organic alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits (such as peaches, apricots, and cranberries) as well as teas. Recent studies have found topically applied benzyl alcohol might help wound healing by promoting collagen production, however this is not its primary function in cosmetics products. Its chief function in cosmetics is as a preservative, and it’s among the least sensitising preservatives in use. Benzyl alcohol works well as a preservative because it has both antibacterial and antifungal properties.
High amounts of benzyl alcohol can impart a noticeable floral-like scent to products, as it is part of the fragrance makeup of some essential oils such as jasmine.
As a volatile alcohol, it can pose a risk of sensitivity when used in high amounts but is considered safe as used in cosmetics (usually in concentrations up to 5%, and it may be used up to 10% in hair dyes).
Benzyl Alcohol References
Injury, July 2020, Volume 51, Issue 7, pages 1515-1521
International Journal of Toxicology, November 2017, Volume 36, Issue 3, pages 5S-30S
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 2007, issue 5, pages 1737-1742
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!