Is there Phenoxyethanol in Your Baby Products?

As a mom my first instinct is to protect my kid. Be if physically or emotionally. When I first became a mom I was super conscious of almost everything that I fed my baby and also what I applied on his skin.

I remember when my little one was around 6 months old he developed a white rash like on his body. His skin was itchy and he cried so much. And there was no way I could comfort him. Turns out he caught a reaction from one of the baby lotion & creams I was using.

From then on it’s a habit of mine to check the labels. All products like baby cream to baby wash to wipes and even diaper cream all should be watched for its ingredients.

Baby products these days claim to be organic, free of parabens and sulphate, all natural, plant based, clinically tested. But which one you choose if all say the same thing?

Most baby products these days are paraben-free and sulphate and phthalate-free. However, the new culprit on the block is Phenoxyethanol. There is a lot of talk about whether it is safe to use, its effects on skin and body and whether you should be worried about its presence in baby products.

What is Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that is added to various skincare products to increase the shelf life of a product. It helps to prevent fungi, bacteria, and yeast from growing in your products.

Which products have Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is used in many cosmetics and personal care products like eye shadow, sunscreen, eyeliner, shampoo, blush, deodorant etc. And also in many baby products like soap and body wash, shampoo, Massage oil, Diaper rash creams, lotions.

How will it appear on labels?

You will find it as these names behind any label so check out for them.

  • phenoxyethanol
  • ethylene glycol monophenyl ether
  • 2-Phenoxyethanol
  • PhE
  • rose ether
  • phenoxyethyl alcohol
  • beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether

Is it safe to use Phenoxyethanol?

As any chemical it has both good and bad effects.

The Good-

  • Phenoxyethanol is approved by Cosmetic Ingredient review(CIR), Food & Drug Administration(FDA) and European Economic Community(EEC) for usage in products and for consumption.
  • Studies show that it is not a primary or cumulative skin irritant. It is generally considered safe for use in a concentration of less than 1%.
  • Increases shelf life of products.

The Bad-

  • It can also cause allergic reactions in many cases that can be life-threatening.
  • If you are allergic to Phenoxyethanol then you can develop a rash when you apply the product.
  • If you have any skin condition like eczema then products with Phenoxyethanol can be harmful and can even react to exaggerate the current condition. 
  • In infants, it is also known to cause nervous system damage in case of excessive exposure.

Why you should look for Phenoxyethanol free products for your baby?

A baby’s skin is very delicate and its immunity is fragile. Ensuring its safety should be paramount. If possible, stay away from products that have harmful ingredients like Phenoxyethanol in it. Many brands like Chicco baby moments etc. you can find that are making products free of Phenoxyethanol. In fact, they are one of the few brands that have been proactive in producing their products free of Phenoxyethanol, parabens, SLS, SLES, alchohol, and dyes.


As parents, we need to be more responsible shoppers when it comes to choosing baby products. Read the label, research the safety of ingredients, and buy what’s safe & best for your baby.

The opinions, ideas, views expressed in this article is solely my experience based in hope to help my readers. Kindly excercise caution and self judgment.

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