Definition: Benzyl cinnamate is a chemical compound that is an ester derived from cinnamic acid and benzyl alcohol.
Usage in Cosmetics: Benzyl cinnamate is used in cosmetics primarily for its fragrance properties. It is found in heavy oriental perfumes and is used as a fixative. Furthermore, it is also used as a flavoring agent. It can be found in several natural sources, such as Balsam of Peru and Tolu balsam, in Sumatra and Penang benzoin, and as the main constituent of copaiba balsam. This ingredient is also used in the medicated cream product Sudocrem.
Other Names: Benzyl cinnamate is also known as Cinnamein, Benzyl cinnamoate, Benzyl 3-phenylpropenoate, 3-Phenyl-2-propenoic acid phenylmethyl ester, and Cinnamic acid benzyl ester.
Skin Sensitivities: The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) has concluded that benzyl cinnamate is a weak skin sensitizer, implying that it may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recognizes it as a skin sensitizer.
Risks: While it is a weak skin sensitizer, not many consumer allergy reports are available. In a study, six patients out of 182 showed a positive reaction when tested with 8% benzyl cinnamate.
EU 26 List: Benzyl cinnamate is on the EU 26 list, a list of 26 fragrances that are known allergens and must be declared on cosmetic labels if they are present above certain concentrations. The EU Scientific Committee (SCCNFP) has registered benzyl cinnamate on this list. In the EU, the presence of benzyl cinnamate must be indicated in the list of ingredients when its concentration exceeds 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01% in rinse-off products. This ingredient is present in approximately 0.42% of cosmetics.