What is it?
Benzoic acid is used in the preservation of foods, fats, and fruit; as an antibacterial in mouthwashes; and as an antifungal agent in pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetics.

How can I avoid it?
Skin contact with benzoic acid is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing benzoic acid should result in improvement and/or the resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the U.S. for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skincare products for this ingredient. If there is not enough information, ask your pharmacist or contact the company directly. At work, request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.

Direct contact with foods or products containing benzoic acid may cause symptoms including burning, irritation, and redness. Direct contact may occur on the skin, lips, or mouth. Although it is rare, it is possible that ingestion of this substance could cause generalized symptoms such as itching or redness of the skin.

  • Cosmetics/Skincare products
    • Aftershave lotions
    • Antiperspirants/Deodorants
    • Baby products
    • Foot cream
    • Hair sprays, gels, tonics, and lotions
    • Lip balms/Lipsticks
    • Soaps/Cleansers/Detergents
    • Shampoos/Conditioners
    • Moisturizers
    • Make-ups
    • Wipes/Towelettes
    • Perfume/Essential oils from flowers and spices
    • Powders/Sprays
    • Sunscreens
    • Toothpastes/Mouthwash
  • Topical medications
    • Acne
    • Whitfield’s Ointment – used to treat fungal skin infections or calloused skin
  • Insect repellent
  • Foods
    • Artificial flavors
    • Preservative
    • Fruit juice
    • Sparkling drinks
    • Soft drinks
    • Pickles
    • Cranberries plus other berries
  • Mordant in calico printing
  • Tobacco curing
Other names for Benzoic Acid:
  • Acidum benzoicun (EP)
  • Benzene methanoic acid
  • Benzene carboxylic acid
  • Benzene formic acid
  • Benzoic acid (RIFM)
  • Carboxybenzene
  • Dracyclic acid
  • Euxyl K 702
  • Phenylformic acid
  • Phenyl carboxylic acid
  • Retardex
  • Unisept BZA
Potential co-reactive (not cress-reactive) substances:
  • Balsam of Peru
  • Balsam of Tolu


How safe is it?

Hang tight. We're thinking.