Definition: Sodium Benzoate is a preservative used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. This function extends to various applications, including food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products, where it serves as a bacteriostatic and fungistatic agent, ultimately prolonging the shelf life of these products. This white, odorless powder, soluble in water, is derived from benzoic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in fruits like cranberries, prunes, and plums.

Used in Cosmetics: Sodium Benzoate finds extensive use in cosmetics and personal care items such as antiperspirants, deodorants, hair sprays, gels, tonics, lotions, soaps, cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, make-up products like powders and sprays, and even toothpaste and mouthwash.

Pharmaceutical and Other Uses: This ingredient is also employed in pharmaceutical products as a bacteriostatic and fungistatic agent. Beyond cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, Sodium Benzoate serves a range of purposes, such as in silver polish, cough syrups, coolant in automobile engines, detergents, cleaning products, fireworks, animal foods, and as a preservative in various foods, including carbonated drinks, jams, jellies, margarine, pickles, soft drinks, syrups, salad dressings, fruit juices, and condiments.

Avoidance and Safety Measures: Skin contact with products containing Sodium Benzoate is necessary for it to cause skin rashes. If you experience dermatitis, discontinuing exposure to products with this ingredient can lead to improvement or resolution. In the U.S., topical products are required by law to have ingredient listings on their packages or boxes, aiding consumers in identifying ingredients. If information isn't present, consider consulting your pharmacist or the company. Requiring a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) can help identify potential exposure sources at workplaces.

Other Names: Sodium Benzoate is known by various alternative names, including:

Benzoate of soda
Sodium benzoic acid
AnE211 (food additive)

Remember, individual reactions may vary, so consulting a dermatologist is advisable if you're uncertain about an ingredient's effects on your skin.

How safe is it?

Hang tight. We're thinking.