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Selfology Ingredient FAQ -

What is

Phenethyl Alcohol

& it's various names,


Phenethyl alcohol,

Benzeneethanol ,

2-Phenylethanol ,

2-Phenylethyl alcohol,


β-Phenylethyl alcohol,Benzyl-carbinol,


Chinese Names:






2- 苯基乙醇



A Great Introduction from a Research Paper,


2-苯乙醇最早是作為玫瑰花中特徵性的香氣化合物被發現的[2]。在大馬士革玫瑰的香精油中,2- 苯乙醇占到其總揮 發物含 量的60%以上[3]。 2-苯乙醇由於具有玫瑰花的芳香而備受人們歡迎和喜愛,使 2-苯乙醇成為在香水和化妝品行業中應用最廣泛的香料化合物[4]。此外,2- 苯乙 醇還作為香精廣泛應用在食品行業中,如飲料、麵包、餅乾、口香糖等。


據估計在 1990 年全球市場對 2-苯乙醇的銷售量大約為 7000 t·a−1[5]。目前市場上的 2-苯乙醇主要是靠化學合成方法生產的,但由於2-苯乙醇的應用領域而使人們更傾向於使用“天然”來源的 2-苯乙醇;而且

利用標記為“天然”的原材料來合成的 2-苯乙醇價格要遠高於化學法合成的2- 苯乙醇。其差別在於生產方法不同,在歐美國家標記為“天然”的香料在生產時必須利用天然原材料通過物理方法,酶催化方法及微生物轉化法來生產[6]。在 2002 年全球“天然”2-苯乙醇的全球市場銷售只有0.5 t,其價格在US $1000 kg−1左右[1,7]。這篇綜述將從2-苯乙醇的生產方法、生物合成、生理學作用以及應用等方面對 2-苯乙醇進行詳細










Volume 9, Number 2,1990

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers


Final Report on the Safety Assessment of

Phenethyl Alcohol


  • Maternal exposure to PEA, microencapsulated in the feed, at concentrations of 1000, 3000, and 10,000 ppm had no effect on embryo-fetal loss, or embryo-fetal development and morphology.

  • There was an increased incidence of incomplete ossification in the 10,000 ppm PEA group litters.

  • Doses of 0.14, 0.43, and 1.40 ml/kg of PEA were applied to the skin of pregnant rats.

  • Maternal toxicity was marked at the highest dose, Morphological abnormalities in fetuses in the 1.40 ml/kg PEA group were observed.

  • The number of fetuses with moderate degrees of reduced ossification and with cervical rib(s) was significantly greater in the 0.43 ml/kg PEA group than in the controls.

  • The incidence of structural changes was slightly greater in 0.14 ml/kg PEA-treated rats than in control rats. Dermal doses of 0.07,0.14,0.28,0.43, and 0.70 ml/kg/day PEA to pregnant rats significantly increased cervical ribs in the 0.70 ml/kg/day group litters.

  • The highest no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) was 0.43 ml/kg/day for cervical rib malformation (teratogenic effect).

  • The dermal applied teratogenicity NOAEL of 0.43 ml/kg/day was used to estimate a safe use level of 1.0% PEA in cosmetic products.'')   





cervical rib is an abnormality that's present from birth. It doesn't usually cause problems, but if it presses on nearby nerves and blood vessels, it can cause neck pain, numbness in the arm and other symptoms, which collectively are known as thoracic outlet syndrome.


Ossification (or osteogenesis) in bone remodeling is the process of laying down new bone material by cells called osteoblasts. It is synonymous with bone tissue formation.


Phenethyl Alcohol,

"nervous system", the "brain" and the "reproductive system".

Alcohols are drying to the skin

Antimicrobial Preservative

Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualifications

Cervical Rib 


No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL)


1% Max



Journals and Articles regarding the Safety of this Chemical,










The impact of ethylene glycol monomethyl ether on ovarian function may extend to the next generation in female mice: a preliminary study.




Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether (EGME) is known to alter the reproductive function of exposed animals and their offspring; however, its influence on cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) remains unclear. This study assessed the toxicity of EGME on oocytes and COCs by analyzing the number of oocytes in the F0 and F1 generations and evaluating apoptosis in oocytes and COCs after treating the F0 generation with EGME. There was a dose-dependent increase in the apoptosis ratios in the COCs from F1 mice, which were not directly exposed to EGME, with apoptosis ratios of 0.065, 0.102, 0.184, and 0.212 for the 0%, 0.05%, 0.1%, and 0.2% EGME dose groups, respectively. The increased apoptosis of cumulus cells may play a role in the toxicity of EGME toward ovarian function. EGME toxicity seems to affect female offspring in future generation(s), but further studies with a large number of animals are necessary to verify these conclusions.


Selfology Ingredient FAQ -

What is Phenethyl Alcohol?


It's a compound that occurs in many places in our nature from grapes to wine and it's natural properties becomes a subject of chemical synthesis reproduction so it can also be used as preservatives in the cosmetics and skincare products, amongst many other intentions such as the need to smell-nice-with-a-long shelve-life-within-a-low-budget-large-profit kind of scheme.  Who knew it is still somewhat controversial with a lot of rather shocking findings.  How easy one can go over the 1% as we layer many products on our skin on a daily basis (sunscreens, cleansers, scrubs, toner, etc) with many of these products coming with this preservative ingredient - as well as throughout the many other means of consuming them such as through the various "fake" food we eat, for example, the fake-aromatic bubble teas.   These burning questions propel our journey deeper into this a.k.a. paraben ingredient replacement and we shall share our findings on our way.  It will be interesting.  


Please return to this page for further updates, or sign up in the comment box below. 


When it comes to your cosmetic products, like the moon, faces you with the good side, and makes one wonder what it is like on the other side and how to consider them properly? 


We found perplexing information and it is time to ask Deep Questions as Arne Næss did. 


When you see the word "fragrance" in the ingredient list, and the product has this almost wonderful floral aroma, and to many, it smells like roses (which is absolutely not, as the synthetically made ones are tricking your nose with the same tune as the real thing), then it is likely you have this ingredient in your bottle.   


Currently, everyone at least agrees on the 1% max before it causes an array of concerning effects which is especially concerning for reproductive matters and maternal phases.    While the average found in most products average out at 0.46%, with 25% of the 43 reviewed products (so a very very small sample size) is close to 0.6% Level, and again this is based on a mere sampling, and how is this monitored continuously to the hundreds and thousands of products out there?   


With so many "profit-margin" benefits using this as a marketed alternative to "paraben-free", we are sure a good portion of manufacturers of skincare products would push that limit to the maximum, on top of that, it smells fakely good.


And are the synthetic version of the naturally occurring compound safe to use in products labelled as "natural" and "organic"?   We found, that the synthetic version uses a chemical process that needs a known carcinogen called 'benzene' and we are currently researching if this makes any difference to the end product (are these solvents fully evaporated?) and in the meantime we love to hear from any experts out there (please email us using the form below).   


Alternatively, there is a natural process to mass-produce this ingredient, however, that would cost around $1,000 per kilogram from chemical plant to the cosmetic maker (so their B-B pricing) and we are certain it is not a price range manufacturer loves.   And in the rare chance, they do use that version, I am sure their sales would rave about it.  Based on chemical sales statistics, the natural version accounts for less than 1% of all the sales of this chemical around the world (see citation below).  


It is time to dig deeper.   At least for now, we are certain we would recommend AGAINST the use of any product that contains this compound if you are,  


1. Allergic to the material 

2. Pregnant

3. Breastfeeding

4. Children Three and Under 


(Remember, if you use multiple products they do accumulate, so you can go over the 1% very easily.)


The One-Percent Max. Limit (1%) is the maximum safe level as determined by governing authorities (see the list of research links below) that any cosmetic products using Phenethyl Alcohol as a preservative (amongst other "profit" driven factors) should not exceed this 1% otherwise it is observed that it reduces the ossification in the fetus (bone growth defects such as cervical ribs), amongst other unknown, or at least, "unobservable effects".  Who knew nicotine was bad for you.    Do we have the right to know on behalf of our 'babies'?


And there is a difference between naturally occurring as in fruits versus chemical plant produced sold in barrels and widely used in things as "fragrance" and "stabilizers" and "antimicrobial".  After all, it is an alcohol, and the synthetic chemical process to create this chemical, such as benzene (the first one we recognize as known carcinogens) as a solvent to create the end chemical - how sure are we about this?


We are currently investigating such questions as well as the regulation on the 1% in products people use every day, and we will report back to this page as we gather further information.  


Look for the Colourful ToC Slabs below to leap to the various section of this page.   


We will dig deep per the Deep Ecology spirit, as we ask deeper questions to get the Deep Story out of the way. 


Selfology Heart Office

To be continued....stay tuned or sign up for email updates here, 


Google Translation: 


2-Phenylethanol was first discovered as a characteristic aroma compound in roses [2]. Among the essential oils of the rose of Damascus, 2-phenylethanol accounts for more than 60% of its total volatile content [3]. 2-Phenylethanol is popular and loved because of its rose aroma, making 2-phenylethanol the most widely used perfume compound in the perfume and cosmetics industry [4]. In addition, 2-phenethyl alcohol is also widely used as a flavor in the food industry, such as beverages, bread, biscuits, chewing gum, etc. It is estimated that the global market for 2-phenylethanol sales in 1990 was approximately 7000 t · a−1 [5]. At present, 2-phenylethanol is mainly produced by chemical synthesis methods, but because of the application fields of 2-phenylethanol, people tend to use 2-phenylethanol from "natural" sources; andThe price of 2-phenylethanol synthesized from raw materials marked as "natural" is much higher than that of 2-phenylethanol synthesized chemically. The difference lies in the different production methods. In the European and American countries, the spices labeled "natural" must be produced using physical raw materials through physical methods, enzyme-catalyzed methods, and microbial transformation methods [6]. In 2002, the global "natural" 2-phenylethanol market was sold at only 0.5 t, and its price was around US $ 1000 kg−1 [1,7]. This review will detail 2-phenylethanol from its production methods, biosynthesis, physiological effects, and applications.Summary  SOURCE: