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Sodium Benzoate

What is it?

Benzyl Alcohol is an organic alcohol found in many fruits and teas. Benzyl Alcohol has a hydroxyl group (-OH), while the related compound, Benzoic Acid has a carboxyl group (-COOH). Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate are salts of Benzoic Acid. Benzyl Benzoate is an ester of Benzyl Alcohol and Benzoic Acid.

Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid and its salts, and Benzyl Benzoate are used in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products, including baby products, bath products, soaps and detergents, eye makeup, blushers, cleansing products, make up products, as well as hair, nail and skin care products.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Benzoic Acid and Sodium Benzoate on its list of direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). Benzyl Alcohol and Benzyl Benzoate are also approved as a synthetic flavoring agents for direct addition to food. Benzyl Alcohol is approved as an anesthetic ingredient in Over-the-Counter (OTC) anorectal, oral healthcare and topical analgesic drug products.

The safety of Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Benzoate, Potassium Benzoate and Benzyl Benzoate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that these ingredients were safe for use in cosmetic products.

The safety of Benzyl Alcohol and Benzyl Benzoate has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel (REXPAN). Based on these evaluations, International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standards have been established. The IFRA standards restrict the use of Benzyl Alcohol and Benzyl Benzoate in fragrances because of potential sensitization.
Link to the IFRA Standards:
http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/standards_restricted/s/benzyl/s...
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Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

The following functions have been reported for these ingredients.

Corrosion inhibitor - Sodium Benzoate
Fragrance ingredient - Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate
pH adjuster - Benzoic Acid
Preservative - Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Benzoate, Potassium Benzoate
Solvent - Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate
Viscosity decreasing agent - Benzyl Alcohol

Follow this link for more information about how preservatives protect cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific facts:

Benzyl Alcohol and Benzoic Acid are found naturally in many foods such as apricots, snap beans, cocoa, cranberries, mushrooms and honey. Benzyl Alcohol is also found in the essential oil of many plants, including jasmine, hyacinth and ylang-ylang.

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