benzyl alcohol

What it is
Benzyl Alcohol is an organic alcohol that naturally occurs in some fruits, like apricots.

What it does
Benzyl Alcohol is commonly used as a preservative.
In addition, it can also impart a floral-like scent to cosmetic products.

Side effects
Although irritating in high amounts, it is considered safe at the small concentrations in which it is used in cosmetics.

(Sources: Contact Dermatitis, September 2011 and Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 2007)