Know Your Ingredients: Benzyl Salicylate


What it is
Benzyl Salicylate, also called benzyl 2-hydroxybenzoate, is a clear and colorless liquid. It has a floral aroma.

What it does
Benzyl Salicylate adds fragrance to a product.
In addition, it is used as an UV light absorber. UV light absorbers scatter, reflect or absorb UV rays, thus preventing products from going bad. In haircare products, they also protect hair from UV rays.

Side effects
Benzyl Salicylate can cause irritations, sensitization and allergic reactions.


36 Comment

  1. Hi I would like to know where it comes from as I heard cheap fragrances are made from coal and it is poisonous (benzyl)

    • Haim, this is a synthetic compound made in a lab. But what do you mean with cheap fragrances? If you mean fake ones then who knows what they contain? Those may contain harmful ingredients but genuine, original fragrances are safe.

  2. I am not supposed to use any salicylates on my skin because it blocks a medicine that I take at the kidney level. Would Benzyl Salicylate be considered salicylate acid or is it just a chemical? Thanks

    • Suzanne, Benzyl Salicylate is an ester of benzyl alcohol and salicylic acid so I think it would be best if you avoided it, just to be on the safe side..

  3. Hi I just purchased Lancome face wash and one of the ingredients is Benzyl Salicylate. I have oily and acne prone skin and want to know if this is harmful to my skin.

    • Benzyl Salicylate can cause irritations, but so can most ingredients, and there is no way of knowing if it’s gonna cause a negative reaction until you try it. It’s not comedogenic though and, when used in a cleanser, it stays on the skin for only a minute or so before being rinsed off, so I don’t think it will cause any problems for your skin.

  4. I am currently using large amounts of Zoflora Linen fresh which contains Benzyl Salicylate and have had a recurrent cough for nearly five weeks. Could this be causing it? the label says that it can cause an allegic reaction.

  5. My mum has developed an allergy to benzyl salicylate and has been hospitalised for over a month due to that amongst other things. She should be home today with luck but I need to know other names for this to ensure that I can get rid of all products containing it out of the house to ensure she is safe when she comes home

    • Rachel, I’m so sorry to hear that, I hope she is ok. If she is allergic to benzyl salicylate, she also avoid salicylates and all its derivatives. The most common ones used in topical products are:

      Homomenthyl salicylate (homosalate)
      Ethylhexyl salicylate (octyl salicylate)
      Trolamine salicylate
      Benzyl salicylate
      Amyl salicylate
      Phenyl salicylate
      Salicylic Acid

      I hope this helps.

  6. I am looking for a chemical free face care line. This is listed as the last ingrediant in the face wash, everything else is natural or essential oils. Is this considered to be a chemical.

    • Karen, I’m afraid chemical free products don’t exist. Everything that is made up of matter is a chemical, including water. Even essential oils are made up of many chemical compounds. Unfortunately, many people have started using chemical as a synonym for synthetic, which has just created a lot of confusion. So yes, Benzyl Salicylate is a chemical. And because it occurs naturally in many essential oils, companies can claim it has a natural origin. But I believe that it can be also made synthetically in a lab. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi

    I wonder if you could recommend a facial wash that doesn’t contain benzyl salicylate. I currently use a Lancome one that unfortunately does contain this and I seem to be allergic.


    • Jean, I’m sorry to hear about your allergy. Have you tried Cetaphil? It’s gentle and effective. Hope this helps.

        • Liane, as far as I know, parabens, in the minuscule concentrations used in cosmetics, are safe for everyone, including pregnant women. The studies that claim they are dangerous have been taken out of context and don’t really apply to humans. Besides, parabens have been used in cosmetics for more than 20 years, so if they were bad for pregnant women, we would know by now. Having said that, if using parabens make you feel uncomfortable, you can also opt for products that don’t contain them.

  8. Hi,
    I just went through allergy patch testing for contact dermatitis issues I am having. One of the five issues that came back is benzyl salicylate. I am going through my products and looking at the list of other names this goes by from my doctor. I am confused and cannot find the answer here…these names came up (wondering if they are other names for this as well): sodium benzoate, alkyl benzoate, benzyl benzoate, benzyl alcohol, benzo phenome, and salycylic acid. I am pretty miserable and would like to eliminate everything I need to. should I be avoiding anything with benzyl/benzo, salicylic including the above?

    • Allergies, unfortunately that would be best. Those substances are all related, so if you are allergic to one, you’ll probably be allergic to the others too. I’m sorry I can’t give you better news.

  9. I am allergic to aspirin (anaphylaxis) and have found many of the products
    I use to use now contain benzyl salicylates. I have to be very careful and
    read all the tiny print labels before purchasing any parfume products
    or treatments. Even the expensive parfumes now have benzyl salicylates
    as a preservative.

    • Dede, I’m sorry to hear that. This is one of the worst allergies as these ingredients are used in everything. I hope you’ll find some products free of them that work well for you.

  10. I am allergic to dodecyl gallate and wondering if benzyl salicylate is derived from a combonation of dodecyl gallate and another chemical?

    • Denise, I’m sorry to hear about your allergy. Benzyl Salicylate is the ester of benzyl alcohol and salicylic acid.

    • Carol. I’m sorry to hear about your allergy. Yes, they are related, so you’d better stay away from that too.

  11. I currently take xalto one of the new family of anti-coagulants. Since using a sun block containing benzyl salicylate I have developed tiny bruises to skin and mucus membranes. Could this be a side effect? The product also contains coumarin.

    • Jennifer, it’s difficult to say for certain. It could indeed be that your medication is reacting badly to something in your sunscreen, so I recommend you consult a doctor asap.

  12. Just today I was diagnosed with a benzyl salicylate allery. It is all rather overwhelming. Is there a cross over with food related salicylates?
    I use aloe vera based skin care products and as I am researching find aloe is a salicylate.

  13. dear mam
    i,d like to know a bout ingredients raw material organic or in organic that use in sun screen cream for filterin uv and uv bloker


    • Hi Hassan, I have already written posts about quite a few of them. You can find them in the a-z ingredients page at the top of this page, or you can use the search function to find them. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, let me know what ingredients in particular you’d like to know more about. :)

  14. Hi, i just found out recently that i have benzyl salicylate allergy also few others (fragrance mix, nikkel, octyl gallate and colophony). Does this mean that i am allergic to all salicylates? and is salicylate in vegetables and fruits?

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