Cosmetic products are often a breeding ground for pathogenic microorganisms as they are in constant contact with our hands or different parts of our body. To avoid serious consequences for damaged skin or less resistant people, preservatives are added to all cosmetic products containing water. Like most preserving agents, phenoxyethanol is a controversial ingredient given its toxic potential. However, as Paraclesus, the father of toxicology, used to say: “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison”. In Europe, the maximum concentration of phenoxyethanol is 1%, as the majority of scientists agree this offers sufficient consumer protection from the harmful effects of this ingredient.
All cosmetic products compliant to the European legislation do not contain more than 1% phenoxyathanol. There is consequently no reason to panic if you see it on the list of ingredients of your products: it’s there for your safety and at a non-harmful concentration.