New Zealand Phenoxyethanol

New Zealand Phenoxyethanol Industry: Exploring the Applications and Regulations Surrounding Phenoxyethanol Industry


What is Phenoxyethanol?

Phenoxyethanol is an aromatic compound that is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetic and personal care products. It works as an antimicrobial agent, preventing the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and mold that can otherwise spoil products.

Regulation of New Zealand Phenoxyethanol Industry

In  New Zealand Phenoxyethanol industry is regulated by the Meditorial Devices Safety Authority (MDSA). The MDSA places a maximum allowed concentration of 1% for leave-on products like lotions and creams that remain on the skin. For rinse-off products like shampoos and body washes, the limit is higher at 2%. Cosmetic manufacturers must ensure the level of phenoxyethanol in their products fall within these limits for regulatory compliance in the New Zealand market.

Uses of Phenoxyethanol as a Preservative

As an effective and widely used preservative, phenoxyethanol is commonly added to a variety of cosmetic and personal care product formulas. Here are some of its main applications:

– Lotions And Creams: Phenoxyethanol helps extend the shelf life of moisturizers, sunscreens, anti-aging creams and other thick lotion or cream-based products that are left on the skin.

Shampoos And Conditioners: It prevents microbial growth in liquid hair care products, keeping shampoos and conditioners fresh for longer.

Makeup Products: Foundations, concealers, lipsticks and other color cosmetics contain phenoxyethanol to inhibit bacteria and mold growth.

– Bath And Body Products: Products like soaps, shower gels and bubble baths rely on phenoxyethanol to maintain quality throughout their shelf life.

– Fragrances: Perfumes, colognes and other scented cosmetic items use it to preserve their aromatic compositions.

Baby Products: Formulas for baby lotions, washes, shampoos and other infant care items commonly include phenoxyethanol.

Safety of Phenoxyethanol Usage

As a widely adopted preservative, phenoxyethanol’s safety profile has been well researched. Studies show it to have very low toxicity when used at recommended concentrations. Some key points regarding its safety include:

Non-Toxic At Use Levels: Multiple reviews by health organizations like the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel confirm phenoxyethanol has no adverse effects at or below a 1% concentration in leave-on products.

– No Evidence Of Carcinogenicity: Repeated animal studies and case report reviews find no association between phenoxyethanol exposure and cancer risk. It is not classified as a carcinogen.

Low Skin Irritation Potential: Clinical patch tests reveal phenoxyethanol causes very little or no irritation to human skin, even at high concentrations of up to 10%.

Not Absorbed Significantly: Most studies agree phenoxyethanol applied topically is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream due to its larger molecular size. Less than 0.5% is estimated to penetrate the skin barrier.

However, some common precautions are still recommended when using products containing phenoxyethanol. People with known sensitivities or allergies to phenol or ethanol should use caution, and the preservative is not advisable for use around the eyes due to rare risk of stinging. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also advised to check levels remain under recommended limits.

Overall, current research indicates phenoxyethanol can be safely used as a preservative in cosmetic products when formulated at concentrations under 2% as stipulated by New Zealand regulations. Proper guidelines help ensure both its effectiveness and low risk profile are maintained.

Alternatives to Phenoxyethanol Preservation

While phenoxyethanol is one of the most widely accepted preservatives internationally, some manufacturers choose to use alternatives. Here are a couple options sometimes seen instead:

Methylchloroisothiazolinone And Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI): This preservative system marketed under trade names like Kathon provides comparable antimicrobial action to phenoxyethanol. However, it also carries a higher allergy risk.

– Benzyl Alcohol: This preservative demonstrates effectiveness against bacteria and yeasts, though has less coverage against molds. Solution concentrations requiring are also higher than phenoxyethanol levels needed.

– Sorbic Acid
: A food-grade preservative, sodium sorbate or potassium sorbate is used against molds and yeasts in some cosmetic lines. However, sorbic acid has more limited antibacterial properties versus phenoxyethanol.

In formulations seeking the most broad-spectrum and effective natural preservative option while upholding regulatory restrictions, phenoxyethanol still remains a top industry choice – especially for leave-on cosmetic products in New Zealand. However, alternatives continue gaining popularity as well for companies targeting certain niche markets.

Overall, this article has extensively reviewed key details about phenoxyethanol – including its functions, regulation, applications and safety – as one of the most widely adopted preservatives globally in cosmetic manufacturing while remaining compliant with New Zealand standards. Both its merits and potential alternatives have been discussed. Phenoxyethanol undoubtedly plays an important ongoing role in preserving product quality for the personal care industry.


1.Source: CoherentMI, Public sources, Desk research
2.We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it