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Benzoic acid is a colorless, crystalline solid that exists in many plants and resins and it is also manufactured synthetically. Benzoic acid is found in most fruits, especially berries, and benzoates occur naturally in cinnamon, cloves, some dairy products and mushrooms.
It is used largely for making its salts and esters, most notably sodium benzoate, which is widely used as a preservative in foods and beverages and as a mild antiseptic in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
Benzoic acid is used for medications, perfume and incense as well as dyes and plastics. It is also used for a wide variety of cosmetics and products such as shampoos, deodorants, lubricant/spermicides, baby wipes, dentifrices, sunscreens, lip balm, hair color, hair-loss treatments, shaving cream and hair spray.