An oily substance made from organic chemicals and often used as a preservative. Many personal lubricants contain phenoxyethanol. It is considered a safe, non-toxic additive and an excellent alternative to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.

In small amounts, phenoxyethanol should not cause serious irritation or allergic reactions in healthy adults, although large amounts of the preservative can cause potentially serious side effects. Preservatives like phenoxyethanol typically make up less than 1 percent of a personal lubricant’s formula.