Is Phenoxyethanol Safe in Baby Wipes?

Is Phenoxyethanol Safe in Baby Wipes?

As mums, we’re always on the lookout for what’s best for our babies, and this includes scrutinizing every product we use. Baby wipes are a daily essential, but have you ever wondered about their ingredients? Recently, phenoxyethanol in baby wipes has sparked discussions among parents. Let’s take a moment to understand this ingredient and ensure the wipes we use are safe and gentle for our little ones.

What is Phenoxyethanol in Baby Wipes?

Phenoxyethanol – it sounds scientific, but what exactly is it? Simply put, it’s a preservative used in many products, including baby wipes. Its job? To keep wipes fresh and free from harmful bacteria that could irritate your baby’s delicate skin.

But with all the chatter about chemical ingredients, it’s natural to question if phenoxyethanol is safe for your baby, especially with sensitive skin being a common concern. Let’s delve into this and make sure we’re making informed choices for our precious little ones.

Safety Profile of Phenoxyethanol

Is phenoxyethanol safe in baby wipes? Here’s what the research says. The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety considers phenoxyethanol safe in cosmetic products, including baby wipes, up to a concentration of 1%. This guideline covers its use for children and babies.

However, the ANSM report suggests a more cautious approach, recommending a lower concentration of 0.4% in products for children under three, particularly for use in the nappy area. As mums, we balance expert advice with our instincts to choose what’s best for our little ones.

Recent Studies and Research on Phenoxyethanol in Baby Wipes

Recent research, including a key study from the Indian Journal of Child Health, provides important insights into the use of phenoxyethanol in baby wipes:

  • Newborn Skin Absorption: The study emphasizes that newborns’ skin is more absorbent, which could increase sensitivity to phenoxyethanol.
  • General Safety: Phenoxyethanol is considered safe as a preservative in cosmetic products at concentrations up to 1%.
  • Toxicity at High Doses: In animal studies, higher doses of phenoxyethanol have been linked to blood, liver, kidney, and cell toxicity.
  • Recommendation for Newborns: Due to potential risks, it is recommended to avoid using products containing phenoxyethanol on newborn babies.
  • Conclusion of the Study: While phenoxyethanol is generally safe in low concentrations, the study concludes that products containing phenoxyethanol should not be used for newborns due to their delicate skin and the potential for higher absorption.

In summary, while phenoxyethanol is generally regarded as safe in the concentrations used in baby wipes, parents should be aware of the potential for increased skin absorption in newborns and the rare possibility of allergic reactions. Choosing products specifically formulated for sensitive baby skin can help minimize risks.

Impact on Baby Wipe Brands: Huggies, Kirkland, and Pampers

The evolving understanding of phenoxyethanol’s safety has led to changes in how some baby wipe brands formulate their products:

  • Huggies Wipes: In response to safety concerns, Huggies removed phenoxyethanol from their formula in 2017. They now offer Huggies® Extra Care Sensitive Wipes, catering to babies with more sensitive skin and providing a safer option for parents concerned about certain ingredients.
  • Kirkland Baby Wipes: Kirkland continues to use phenoxyethanol in their baby wipes. While many babies do well with these wipes, there have been reports of adverse reactions. This highlights the importance of parents monitoring their babies for any skin reactions and choosing products accordingly.
  • Pampers Sensitive Wipes: Pampers offers an alternative with their Sensitive wipes, which are free from parabens, phenoxyethanol, perfume, alcohol, and dyes. This makes them a suitable option for parents seeking wipes with fewer potential irritants.

Each brand’s response to safety data and consumer feedback reflects their commitment to providing safe and effective products. Parents should consider their baby’s individual skin sensitivity and check the latest ingredient information when selecting baby wipes.


  • General Safety: Overall, phenoxyethanol in baby wipes is deemed safe when used in concentrations up to 1%. Brands like Huggies, Kirkland, and Pampers have responded to safety concerns in various ways, showing a commitment to infant safety.
  • Need for Ongoing Research: Despite the general consensus on safety, the need for ongoing research is crucial. Continuous studies will help in understanding the long-term effects and ensuring the utmost safety for the most sensitive users – newborns and infants.
  • Consult Healthcare Professionals: Every baby is unique, and what works for one might not suit another. Parents are encouraged to consult healthcare professionals for personalized advice, especially if their baby has sensitive skin or experiences adverse reactions to certain products.
  • Parental Vigilance: Lastly, parental vigilance remains key. Monitoring how a baby’s skin reacts to different products and staying informed about the latest research and product formulations can help in making the best choices for their little ones’ care.

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