Sodium Phenoxide

What Is It?

Sodium Phenoxide is the sodium salt of phenol. It may be used as a preservative or cosmetic biocide in cosmetics and personal care products.

Why Is It Used?

Sodium Phenoxide helps to cleanse the skin or to prevent odor by destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Sodium Phenoxide also protects cosmetics and personal care products from spoilage by preventing or retarding bacterial growth. In OTC drug products, Sodium Phenoxide functions as an external analgesic. Follow this link for more information about how preservatives protect cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Sodium Phenoxide is an aromatic compound also called sodium phenate or phenolate sodium.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Sodium Phenoxide to be used as a topical analgesic and an oral analgesic in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug products. When used in OTC drug products this ingredient is called phenolate sodium. Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has deferred evaluation of this ingredient because the safety has been assessed by FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.

Link to information about the OTC use of phenolate sodium

Phenol is listed in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union (see Annex II) and must not form part of the composition of cosmetics and personal care products.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information

In cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium Phenoxide functions as an antimicrobial agent and a preservative.


Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration

OTC Drug Home Page:…

Information about OTC Drug monographs:

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory