Benzoic acid is a plant polyphenol and a natural aromatic acid used in a wide variety of cosmetics as a pH adjuster and preservative1. Benzyl Alcohol is metabolized to Benzoic Acid in the body.
As a preservative in cosmetic formulations, it is primarily an anti-fungal agent that prevents fungi from developing in products and formulas and changing their composition. It is less effective against bacteria.
Benzoic acid has a long history of use as an antifungal agent in topical therapeutic preparations such as Whitfield’s ointment (benzoic acid 6% and salicylic acid 3%) 2. It has been used with salicylic acid as a topical antifungal agent and in the treatment of athletes foot and ringworm2.
Paula’s choice website rated it safe. EWG.org website rated low concern but some concentration limits were restricted in Japan only.
It has been concluded that benzoic acid can be used safely at concentrations up to 5%, but that consideration should be given the nonimmunologic phenomena when using this ingredient in cosmetic formulations designed for infants and children.
Synonym(s): BENZENECARBOXYLIC ACID; BENZENEFORMIC ACID; BENZENEMETHANOIC ACID; BENZOIC ACID,; CARBOXYBENZENE; DRACYCLIC ACID; PHENYLCARBOXYLIC ACID; PHENYLFORMIC ACID; ACIDE BENZOIQUE (FRENCH) ; ACIDO BENZOICO (ITALIAN) ; BENZENECARBOXYLIC ACID