benzyl salicylate

Let me guess… You’re here because you’ve had an allergic reaction to a skincare product and are wondering if Benzyl Salicylate could be the culprit.

Let’s find out:

What Is Benzyl Salicylate?

Benzyl Salicylate is an ester of Salicylic Acid and Benzyl Alcohol. You can find it in cloves and several fragrant essential oils.

At room temperature, Benzyl Salicylate is an almost colourless liquid. It also a lovely floral aroma (hint: that’s its main use in skincare).

P.S. Benzyl Salicylate is also known as Benzyl 2-hydroxybenzoate.

What Does Benzyl Salicylate Do In Skincare?

Benzyl Salicylate does nothing for your skin. It can’t moisturise it, soothe it, or make it age more slowly. Here’s what it does instead:

  • Fragrance: It gives skincare products a faint, sweet floral or musky scent. (Trace impurities in plants can influence and slightly change its odour).
  • Fragrance fixative: It helps fragrance better adhere to your skin and last longer. That’s good if you buy a perfume. Not so good in a moisturiser… (Keep reading to find out why)
  • Ultraviolet light absorber: Don’t confuse it with UV filter. It’s not a sunscreen. It just protects skincare products or packaging from deteriorating when exposed to UV rays.

Related: Is Fragrance In Skincare As Bad As Paula Begoun Says?

Want to know what ingredients you really need to avoid in your skincare products? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet:

Is Benzyl Salicylate Safe?

Like all fragrance ingredients, Benzyl Salicylate can cause irritations and allergic reactions – even in small amounts.

Let’s be clear: most people can use it safely. But if you have sensitive skin and had a negative reaction to a skincare product, this is likely to be the culprit.

This is why it’s part of the “EU 26 fragrances” group that has to be labelled separately. If you’re allergic to it, you need to know before you buy that moisturiser.

Should You Use Benzyl Salicylate?

Fragrances aren’t the devil the skincare world makes them out to be. Sure, they don’t have any benefits for the skin. But, they make skincare application a more pleasant experience for millions of women.

If you enjoy scented skincare and the fragrance doesn’t bother your skin, there’s no reason to stop using it. It won’t harm your skin.

Sensitive skin? You need to be careful. Fragrance-free skincare is the best option for you.

The Bottom Line

Benzyl Salicylate makes your skincare products smell nice. If your skin doesn’t have a problem with fragrance, no harm in that. Keep enjoying its floral scent. Sensitive skin? This is an ingredient you want to avoid.

What are your thoughts on Benzyl Salicylate in skincare? Let me know in the comments below.