The effect is not limited to a distinct chemical structure but mostly to a lipophilic, non-ionic structure (of preservative and emulsifier), surfactant-like behaviour, and preservative/emulsifier interactions (which is a result of the former two properties; like attracts like). I cite above citation by @Doreen
: “…alcohol, phenyl alcohol, and phenyl ethyl alcohol…/…lipophilic preservatives (e.g. paraben esters)…”.
Most publications as well as most formulations of interest (obviously, pharmaceuticals are studied in more detail than DIY stuff) are based on traditional preservatives of which parabens stand out as particularly lipophilic, non-ionic, and surface-active. Alternative preservatives such as phenethyl alcohol, caprylyl glycol, GMCY, or 1,2-hexanediol etc. show similar lipophilic and surface-active properties which makes them prone to inactivation phenomena. Their yet rather scarce use (in science) is the one reason why there are also only few publications and investigations available showing this inactivation (and any other effect, too).