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What is "Sodium Benzoate" and what is its purpose?

What is "Sodium Benzoate" and what is its purpose?

Sodium benzoate, or Benzoate de Sodium, is derived from benzoic acid, which is naturally present in milk fermentation or in fruits (such as blueberries and cranberries). It is used as a preservative. Law mandates the protection of skincare products from any external microbial contamination, hence the importance of adding preservatives. The question that arises is: what is the utility of sodium benzoate? Stay focused.

All You Need to Know About Sodium Benzoate

In addition to being present in certified organic skincare products, sodium benzoate is also used in food products, where it is known as E211. It prevents the formation of bacteria and fungi in water-based skincare products.

Marketed in the form of granules or crystalline powder, sodium benzoate is represented by the chemical formula NaC7H5O2. It is a weak base with a solubility of 630g/L at 68°F. It is the result of an acid-base reaction between benzoic acid and soda (NaOH).

Sodium benzoate is naturally found in certain fruits: prunes, cranberries, bilberries, cinnamon, and cloves. In addition to being a food preservative, it is also present in shampoos and shower gels.

Once solubilized in a liquid care product, sodium benzoate transforms into benzoic acid. This active ingredient is found in numerous varieties of plants. Acting on yeasts and bacteria, sodium benzoate complements potassium sorbate, which targets bacteria.

Sodium Benzoate: What is its purpose?

Sodium benzoate prevents the growth of microorganisms in skincare products. It can be used on its own. However, it can also be combined with other preservatives such as grapefruit seed extract or potassium sorbate.

Similar to potassium sorbate and benzyl salicylate, sodium benzoate is among the preservatives (known as smart preservatives) approved by European organic labels. The presence of water promotes the growth of yeasts, bacteria, molds, and fungi. Skincare products composed of water (gels, creams, or lotions) or with a watery texture are no exception to this rule. To prevent any contamination, the addition of a preservative is necessary. Moreover, this helps to extend the shelf life of the skincare product. The functions of preservatives are:

  • To eliminate bacteria;

  • To prevent the emergence of yeasts;

  • To prevent less mold.

It is present in:

  • Shower gels;

  • Baby wipes and cleansing waters;

  • Shampoos for colored or highlighted hair.

Sodium Benzoate: What's the Risk?

Sodium benzoate is not suitable for sensitive skin, as it can trigger skin reactions or allergic reactions (allergic rhinitis or asthma attacks). It is contraindicated for children, as it can promote the onset of hyperactivity symptoms. Sodium benzoate present in shower gels can cause allergies in the form of itching and eczema.

Before using this active ingredient, it is advisable to test it on the inside of your arm and wait approximately 48 hours. If irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product.

The recommended dosage of sodium benzoate in creams, lotions, and foaming treatments is 0.1% to 1%.

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