Benzyl Alcohol



No known benefits

Benzyl Alcohol at a glance

  • An organic alcohol that can be found naturally in some fruits
  • Serves chiefly as a preservative in cosmetics products
  • Considered one of the least sensitising preservatives in use
  • Deemed safe for use in concentrations up to 5%

Benzyl Alcohol description

Benzyl alcohol is an organic alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits (such as peaches, apricots, and cranberries) as well as teas. Recent studies have found topically applied benzyl alcohol might help wound healing by promoting collagen production, however this is not its primary function in cosmetics products. Its chief function in cosmetics is as a preservative, and it’s among the least sensitising preservatives in use. Benzyl alcohol works well as a preservative because it has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. High amounts of benzyl alcohol can impart a noticeable floral-like scent to products, as it is part of the fragrance makeup of some essential oils such as jasmine. As a volatile alcohol, it can pose a risk of sensitivity when used in high amounts but is considered safe as used in cosmetics (usually in concentrations up to 5%, and it may be used up to 10% in hair dyes).

Benzyl Alcohol references

  • Injury, July 2020, Volume 51, Issue 7, pages 1515-1521
  • International Journal of Toxicology, November 2017, Volume 36, Issue 3, pages 5S-30S
  • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 2007, issue 5, pages 1737-1742

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.