Understanding the Banned 20: Benzyl Alcohol

What is Benzyl Alcohol and what are the dangers associated?

The Banned 20 has been created by the team at Sinensis to provide an insight into the 20 ingredients/compounds that we have completely eliminated from our skincare products.

Our clinical background and perseverance has demonstrated that it is possible to create skincare products that do not use potentially dangerous chemicals for your skin.

The second on our list is Benzyl Alcohol, an extremely popular component often found in cosmetics, skincare products and even food. Although it is a natural constitute, found in the essential oil of many plants such as Ylang Ylang and Jasmine, manufacturers unfortunately create a synthetic version as it’s cheaper to produce.

The clear liquid has a mild, aromatic odour and contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties meaning it’s often used as a preservative. A vast majority of the time, large skincare and cosmetic brands keep their products in warehouses for months, even years, before they’re put on the shelf. This means they use these preservatives in their products to avoid bacterial growth. 

So how exactly does benzyl alcohol directly affect my health?

Well, the Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) states it is a skin and eye irritant, potentially causing redness and pain. More worryingly, their report also states it may be toxic to the liver and central nervous system, potentially leading to itching, burning, scaling and blistering of the skin, before warning that “repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage”. Scary, huh?

Enough with the doom and gloom, there are ways you can avoid this nasty chemical. There are plenty of natural preservatives out there, you just need to know what you’re looking for. Jasmine and Aspen Bark are two naturally occurring preservatives free from alarming health warnings. 

We hope this has given you a little more insight into the not-so-natural chemical.

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