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Phenoxyethanol is an organic compound with the molecular formula C8H10O2, which can be synthesized by etherification of ethylene glycol and phenol.

Phenoxyethanol is a colorless, slightly viscous liquid with aromatic odor, slightly soluble in water, and easily soluble in ethanol and sodium hydroxide.

Phenoxyethanol has antibacterial properties (usually used with quaternary ammonium salts) and is often used as a substitute for the highly toxic sodium azide in biological buffers because of its lower toxicity and chemical It is not active on copper and lead. It is usually used as a preservative in cosmetics, skin care products, vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

Chemical formula: C8H10O2

Molecular weight: 138.164

CAS Number: 122-99-6

EINECS accession number: 204-589-7

Melting point: 11 to 13 °C

Boiling point: 245.2 ℃

Water solubility: soluble in water, can be freely mixed with acetone, ethanol and glycerol

Appearance: colorless slightly viscous liquid


Phenoxyethanol can be used as a fixative in perfume, insect repellent, external disinfectant, solvent for cellulose acetate, dyes, inks, resins, preservatives and other medicinal purposes. In addition, it is also used in aquaculture as an anesthetic for fish. Also listed by the CDC as an ingredient in several U.S. vaccines. In Japan, the use of phenoxyethanol in cosmetics is monitored.

Antiseptic and bactericidal:

Phenoxyethanol has specific bacteriostatic activity on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and has bacteriostatic effect on Gram-positive and negative bacteria. Because of its considerable solubility in water, white mineral oil, isopropyl palmitate and other cosmetic components. In addition, it is highly efficient, broad-spectrum, low-toxic and non-allergic (2.2% aqueous solution is non-irritating to the skin), so it is widely used in cosmetic creams and shampoos.