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.
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.
Use in health care
Benzyl alcohol is used as a bacteriostatic preservative at low concentration in intravenous medications, cosmetics and topical drugs.
The use of benzyl alcohol as a 5% solution has been approved by the U.S. FDA in the treatment of head lice in children older than 6 months and in adults.
Benzyl alcohol has nearly the same refraction index of quartz and wool fibre. If a clear quartz object is immersed in benzyl alcohol, it becomes almost invisible. This test has been used to determine non-destructively whether an object is truly made of quartz (see crystal skull). Similarly, white wool immersed in benzyl alcohol also becomes almost invisible clearly revealing contaminants such as dark and medullated fibres and vegetable matter.
Pruritus, erythema, pyoderma, ocular irritation, application site symptoms (irritation, anesthesia, hypoesthesia).
Not all side effects for benzyl alcohol topical may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
- None are recorded
Source: CosmeticsInfo, http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/benzyl-alcohol