A very common ingredient in cosmetics and personal products, both main stream AND green. Many “green” products that claim to be clean still have Phenoxyethanol within.. This makes it NOT clean. This is a term called “green washing”. Green washing is when a so-called “environmentally-friendly” or “non-toxic” brand calls themselves safe and toxic free, yet carries unacceptable ingredients in their products.. The biggest one being: PHENOXYETHANOL.
Phenoxyethanol is a popular antibacterial and preservative chemical that is often used in organic and natural skin care products. It is also used in bug repellants and vaccines! This chemical name for it is ethylene glycol phenyl ether or ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, it is an ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with the carcinogenic toxin 1,4-Dioxane.
According to studies, it affected the brain and nervous system in animals in just moderate doses. It also acted as an endocrine disruptor that caused damage to bladder and acute pulmonary edema in again, animals. When it comes to people, it has been scientifically proven to irritate skin and eyes, and is also classified as an irritant in the European Union, and is restricted for use in Japan as well.
The crazy thing about the findings of the studies is that the US and UK deems it safe up to 1%. However, it obviously isn’t if animals are being affected in moderate doses.
Phenoxyethanol also breaks down to phenol and acetaldehyde, and acetaldehyde coverts to acetate. Phenol can shut down the immune system’s primary response mechanism. Acetaldeyde happens with the breakdown of ethanol, making it a suspected carcinogen. Other studies involving inhalation have also shown it to be an irritant of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.
Given all of these findings, for me, it is just not worth it. And while it is best to look at the ingredients on all products that you put on yourself (if a website or company doesn’t show FULL, not just key, ingredients, there’s your sign). You will also notice that the TRUE green beauty bloggers that are truly behind the movement will not use these ingredients either.
A couple examples of “clean” brands that aren’t actually so clean are: Moroccan Oil, Kiehl’s, Origins, Aveda, Aveeno, BeautyCounter, Alba Botanicals, The Body Shop, DermaE, Kiss My Face (excluding toothpaste), etc. Bottom line, read your labels!
Have a great week!