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Is phenoxyethnol harmful?


Phenoxyethanol is a broad-spectrum preservative. It is commonly used in skin care products to prevent harmful microbial growth.


According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), phenoxyethanol is considered non-hazardous. In fact, it is found naturally in green tea. But just because something is naturally occurring does not mean it is always made through a natural process. This is true for many naturally-occurring substances.

Based on MSDS, phenoxyethanol may lead to moderate to mild skin irritation, however that is when phenoxyethanol is purely used by itself. The actual quantity used in any skincare product is quite small.

Think of ethanol, the much needed key ingredient (over 60-70%) in hand sanitizer. Ethanol leads to severe eye irritation, and when inhaled it may damage our central nervous system. But in the midst of pandemics, hand sanitizer seems a must to have! Furthermore, when ethanol (in liquor, beer, wine) is taken in high doses, it causes severe liver damage and may lead to death.

But no organization would make a claim that ethanol is harmful in general. It is harmful when the human body is exposed to  it at a high dose.

Any cosmetics and skincare product needs preservatives. The harm that moldy skincare causes simply outweighs the so-called "preservative-free" product. This is especially serious for those with eczema, rosacea, acne sufferers when the last thing they need is to introduce more harmful bacteria to their existing skin conditions.

According to the Natural Product Association, a natural product is defined as containing over 95% of natural or plant-derived ingredients, LEMYKA products meet this criterion. More importantly, we test our products and make sure they are compatible with the most sensitive skin.

As much as we value natural and organic, we choose to use phenoxyethanol in a few of our products. We also use other popular preservatives such as sodium benzoate, which is a known food preservative and is shown to be safe for human consumption (in small quantity). One needs to take a close look at data, and not fall for the fad that has little to none scientific support.

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