What is it?
Benzyl Alcohol is a constituent of jasmine, hyacinth, ylang-ylang oils, balsam Peru, balsam Tolu, and styrax. It is a fragrance
ingredient used in a variety of products such as flavorings, essential oils in perfumes, and in industrial use.
How can I avoid it?
Skin contact with Benzyl Alcohol is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing Benzyl Alcohol
should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the US for topical use have the
ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this
ingredient. If there is no information ask your pharmacist or call the company directly. At work, request a material safety data sheet
(MSDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.
The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as Benzyl Alcohol can be difficult, since so many everyday products contain
these substances. One should use only fragrance-free cosmetic and household products. “Unscented” products may contain low levels
of a fragrance to cover up an undesirable odor and also should be avoided. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” do not assure that the
product is truly free of fragrance.
Since fragrances are complex mixtures of many ingredients, an individual may tolerate one fragrance but not another. A trial-and-error
method of avoiding a fragrance allergen in a product can be performed by applying the product to the forearm in the same small area
twice a day for a week. If no dermatitis develops, the product may likely be used safely.
Since some fragrances are also flavors, foods can, rarely, cause flare-ups of dermatitis in fragrance-sensitive individuals. Particularly if
you have oral or lip allergies as discussed with your health care provider, you should avoid foods prepared with Benzyl Alcohol.
Direct contact with foods or products containing Benzyl Alcohol may cause symptoms including burning, irritation and redness.
Direct contact may occur on the skin, lips or mouth. It is possible, but rare, that ingestion of this substance could cause generalized
symptoms such as itching or redness of the skin.
• Perfumes / Colognes / After-shaves / Toilet water
• Skin Care Products / Cosmetics
Other names for Benzyl Alcohol:
- Antiperspirants / Deodorants
- Hair sprays, gels, tonics and lotions
- Hair Colorants / “Permanents-Relaxers”
- Soaps / Cleansers
- Shampoos / Conditioners
- Nail Polish / Nail Polish Remover
- Powders / Sprays
Essential oils - jasmine, hyacinth, and yland-yland
- Medications, topical, prescription and over the counter such as:
- Creams, Ointments, Solutions
- Foot And Other Powders
- Nasal Decongestants
- Ophthalmic solutions
- Preservatives in injectable drugs, intravenous medication, and allergy extracts
- Herbal remedies, including Traditional Chinese Medications
- Wound Dressings
- Household products
- Cleaning Products / Soaps / Detergents (A preferred household cleaner is dilute white vinegar.)
- Furniture polish
- Laundry care (detergent, softeners)?
- Room fresheners
- Foods, beverages, various, as a flavoring or spice
- Oral Care Products as a flavoring
- Cough mixtures
- Toothpaste / Mouthwash
- Throat tablets and lozenges
- Industrial / Manufacturing / Construction Uses
- Metal working fluids
- Sheet metal
- Solvents (e.g., photography, dye stuffs, and inks)
- Water proofing
- Solvent for inks
• Euxyl K 100
• Nipaguard MPA
• Benzylic alcohol
• Phenylmethyl alcohol
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
• Balsam of Peru