Benzyl salicylate is an ester of benzyl alcohol and salicylic acid that naturally occurs in many plants (such as Ylang-ylang, Brickellia veronicifolia, Hyacinth, etc.) and is widely used in fragrances and skincare products for sweet, floral, and slightly balsamic odor. In addition, only small amounts of it can penetrate through the skin barrier (adsorption level about 0.9 - 1.7%), and applied topically, benzyl alcohol stays on the surface and adsorbs a broad spectrum of UV light, acting as a sunscreen ingredient. It is used as a perfume fixative and solvent for other components in fragrances. In addition, recent studies revealed benzyl salicylate's estrogenic potential, which is especially important for postmenopausal women. Depletion of estrogen brings to collagen decrease and skin aging. Estrogenic treatment balances collagen levels and prevents premature aging.
It is generally a safe ingredient, permitted food addictive as a flavoring agent. Benzyl salicylate is a plentifully tested skincare ingredient. It showed a very low hypersensitivity (allergy) inducing potential, and most cases are pre-existing sensitization. It also has a shallow irritation potential; irritation was observed only in enormous concentrations like 30% in numerous human tests. The tests with normal concentrations didn't show any irritation.