Is Sodium benzoate safe?—oh boy. Okay, strap in lovelies and be prepared to want to toss most of your skincare products. We are sorry in advance but you need to know why you should avoid this ingredient, especially if anything you use contains ascorbic acid aka Vitamin C.
First, what is Sodium Benzoate?
Sodium benzoate is a preservative that helps prevent the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds often in food and beverage products. Essentially it works by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms by interfering with their ability to function properly.
Why care about Sodium Benzoate?
Pretty simple. On its own it’s fine. It's a great preservative IF the formula does not contain ascorbic acid.
What do a lot of skincare products contain? Vitamin C aka ascorbic acid.
When mixed together these two make benzene and benzene is NOT good for you.
This is the crux of the issue.
Is Sodium Benzoate safe in skincare?!
Yes, sodium benzoate is in most skincare products, especially organic “clean” skincare.
Now here is why you should care:
Some studies and reports have raised concerns about potential health effects associated with sodium benzoate, although the evidence is not conclusive it is worth taking into consideration.
When sodium benzoate is combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), something MANY of us skincare girlies use in our routine, it can form benzene which is a carcinogen.
What common skincare ingredients are high in VitaminC?
This is an important question as you may not know that many ingredients contain Vitamin C and may not be listed as Vitamin C.
The main one you need to focus on is L-Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C in its natural form).
There are other high in vitamin C ingredients such as: Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Kakadu Plum Extract, Acerola Extract, Rosehip Oil etc but these haven’t been studied yet.
What to do now?
Read labels. And make the call. Obviously, we aren’t saying toss everything but more just be aware of what goes on and in your body—like always! And be aware that just because two ingredients are great, it doesn’t mean they are great together.
But for what it’s worth, none of our products will EVER contain sodium benzoate, pinky promise.
Curious for more? We made a reel!
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