What Is It?

Hexylresorcinol is a yellow, sticky liquid that solidifies upon standing.

Why Is It Used?

Hexylresorcinol is an antimicrobial ingredient that kills, prevents, or inhibits the growth and reproduction of microorganisms. Hexylresorcinol also helps to cleanse the skin or prevent odor by destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.

Scientific Facts

Hexylresorcinol is an organic compound. It has a pungent odor and a sharp, astringent taste. Other technical names for hexylresorcinol include 1,3-Dihydroxy-4-Hexylbenzene, 4-Hexylresorcine, and 4-Hexylresorcinol. Hexylresorcinol is also used as a drug to kill parasitic worms that can invade the body’s digestive tract.

Safety Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of hexylresorcinol in different types of over-the-counter (OTC) drug products, including first aid antiseptic medications and oral health care drug products. On September 6, 2016, the FDA issued a final rule on the ‘Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use,’ concluding that consumer antiseptic products intended for use with water (including antibacterial soaps, hand washes, and body washes) that contain any of 19 specific active ingredients (including hexylresorcinol) can no longer be marketed. The FDA concluded that manufacturers had not adequately demonstrated products containing these ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections. Prior to the FDA ruling, some manufacturers had already started removing these ingredients from their products.

The U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has deferred review of this ingredient because the safety has already been assessed by the FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.

Hexylresorcinol may be used as an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe in accordance with the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union. However, since hexylresorcinol is not specifically listed in Annex V, it is not permitted for use as a preservative in the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation.


Link to more information about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory