Is Phenoxyethanol safe to use in baby skincare products?


I still remember how particular I used to be about baby products when I became a new mother. While choosing the products I ensured that they should be paraben-free since that time there was much furore against the usage of parabens in the baby products. 

Nowadays, many baby products have removed this chemical from their ingredients, but what many new parents still don’t know is that baby brands have now replaced paraben with the chemical phenoxyethanol. 

I too also got to know about this while shopping for baby cosmetics for my sister’s newborn baby. As a habit, I was checking the label for its ingredients when I happened to read the term phenoxyethanol.

Out of curiosity, I researched the chemical on the internet and found many pros and cons about its usage.

Phenoxyethanol is a chemical that is used as a preservative ( as it kills bacteria) to increase the shelf life of a product. The ingredient makes a good and relatively safer alternative to parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, hence are used by the brands in a cosmetic formulation of products like soaps, shampoo, perfume, moisturizers, sunscreen, lip gloss, and baby products.

In baby products, phenoxyethanol is found in baby lotions, baby soaps, and shampoos.

As I dig deeper I got to know that usage of this preservative chemical is still a debatable issue in many countries. A few research suggests that if allergic to phenoxyethanol, it may cause a rash like hives on the skin or further irritate the eczema-prone skin. In 2008, FDA warned mothers of using nipple creams containing phenoxyethanol since it caused upset stomachs in nursing infants.

Due to these concerns, one should be mindful of using products containing phenoxyethanol on the baby’s skin. To make an informed decision it’s important to read the label to check what ingredients go inside the products which you are planning to buy for your baby.


Harmful Ingredients one should watch out for and avoid:

  1. Phenoxyethanol: Avoid phenoxyethanol and its variants like 2-Phenoxyethanol,PhE, Phenyl ether, Rose ether, Phenoxyethyl alcohol, and Ethylene glycol
  2. Parabens: Parabens are used as preservatives in baby’s skincare products, and are easily absorbed by skin causing skin irritation.
  3. SLS and SLES, Phthalates, Dyes and Alcohol, Tropolene, EDTA, and synthetic fragrances, are other ingredients that should be avoided in baby cosmetics products.

Make the right choice:

Luckily the composition of baby care cosmetics has changed over the years. Now many baby brands use ethical ingredients in their preparation. These ingredients are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-approved, and certified toxin-free. 

So did I find the chemical-free product I was looking for? You betcha I did!! I came across a brand Chicco that doesn’t have phenoxyethanol and is free of other chemicals too. Their products are made with the goodness of natural ingredients. My sister has been using the products of this brand for her baby and is completely satisfied with it. 

Last few words:

As conscious parents, we should do thorough research on the ingredients of the cosmetic product we plan to use on the baby’s skin. One should pick a brand based not on its popularity or cost, but on what it is made of. 





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7 thoughts on “Is Phenoxyethanol safe to use in baby skincare products?”

  1. Sandy N Vyjay at 2:04 am

    One needs to be extremely careful when choosing baby products. Products with harsh chemicals can cause damage to the baby. Phenoxyethanol can be harmful and parents need to be aware of this.

  2. Anjali Tripathi at 6:53 am

    As a parent, we want what’s best for our children. That includes giving them the best skincare routine to keep their skin soft and healthy.

    Understanding which baby skincare products to buy can be confusing. Some ingredients can cause sensitive skin to become irritated, and sure others can even be absorbed into our little one’s body. Indeed Chicco is a good brand, and I can find it in Oman also.

  3. Hansa K. Kajaria at 1:24 pm

    I had done a lot of online research when I was expectting my 1st child and that’s when I had read about Phenoxyethanol and I was amazed to know how its being used in all cosmetics and baby care range. Post that I’ve made sure to read the ingredients thoroughly before buying products for my kids.

  4. Roma at 3:51 pm

    I wonder how I missed on knowing about this harmful ingredient buddy, I am so glad you are creating awareness about it. There is nothing more important than our babies

  5. The Champa Tree at 5:54 pm

    It is important to check the list of ingredients always before using any brand for your child or for yourself. Some chemicals can cause major harmful effects.

  6. Neha Tambe at 11:35 am

    I remember when kids were younger I used to read the labels in detail. I preferred using natural ingredients for skin and hair care for children. This is a detailed post and very informative.

  7. MeenalSonal at 12:03 pm

    Milan, you are right, parents end being detective to find if the product is suitable to their child or not. I too remember the days when choosing a single baby lotion would be difficult. Good to know about the chemical and its pros and cons in the post

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