I was on Etsy looking at different lotion ingredients. I was shocked at how many stores did not use an adequate preservative in their water-based lotions and creams! Not using the proper preservative in a product that contains water or a perishable ingredient (such as aloe vera juice) is a breeding ground for mold. Studies have been done showing that there currently are no known natural preservatives for water-based cosmetics.
Here are a few examples of ingredients listed for a product that does not contain an adequate preservative:
Ingredients: Purified Water, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Hemp Seed Oil ,Avocado oil, Olive oil ,Castor oil, palm stearic, emulsifying wax, botanical extracts of calendula, chamomile, comfrey root, Chlorophyll, vitamin E, Peppermint essential oil, Tea Tree Essential oil, Thyme essential oil, Grapefruit Seed extract, citric acid, Rosemary oil extract
Claims: All our Natural Lotion is free of synthetic preservatives, colorants, alcohol and mineral oils. All of our lotions are ideal for people with sensitive skin or allergies to synthetic chemicals used in commercially manufactured lotions
WHAT IS NOT IN OUR LOTION:
-NO harmful toxins
-NO synthetic fragrance oils
-NO phalates (a chemical in synthetic fragrance oils)
-NO sodium laurel sufates (SLS – a known carcinogen), and
–NO synthetic preservatives or parabens! (Preserved with a mix of food grade Potassium Sorbate & Citric Acid, used for over 100 years in food)
Ingredients: Organic Aloe Juice, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Organic Calendula officinalis Extract, Stearic Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Cocoa Butter, Organic Lavender Distillate, Organic Bilberry Extract, Organic Sugar Cane Extract, Organic Sugar Maple Extract, Organic Orange Extract, Organic Lemon Extract, Organic Cranberry Extract, Organic Papaya Extract, Organic Pineapple Extract, Glycolic Acid, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Tocopherol Vitamin E, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, peppermint essential oil, patchouli essential oil
News Flash! Glycolic Acid, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid – are food preservatives. They are not suitable for lotions or products containing water.
More information on Synthetic Preservatives: Why you cannot find adequate natural preservatives.
Here is some helpful information I found:
What types of preservatives should I use?
If water is present in a formulation, or if the product is exposed to water, bacterial growth is imminent. It is important to protect such products from the possibility of bacterial growth since this will ruin the product. What’s more, direct sunlight and UV rays, oxygen, heat, moisture and bacteria from your fingers can also spoil your products (FromNatureWithLove).
Of course, damaged products are surely to make your customers angry at having wasted their money. So, what should you used to extend the shelf life of your products? In order to inhibit the growth of bacteria in your products, a bactericidal preservative should be added. These agents will act to create an environment in which bacteria cannot grow (wikipedia.org).
Is Vitamin E a preservative?
No, vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning that it will remove free radicals from your blend whether it is a lotion, soap, or oil. Vitamin E is wonderful for adding life to oils and preventing them from going rancid, but it is not a preservative in the sense of bacterial inhibition. According to From Nature with Love, Vitamin T-50 Vitamin E Oil can be used to extend the shelf life of your products. But bacteria can still grow in your products if Vitamin E and water are both present. Therefore, it is a good idea to challenge test any new product to ensure the preservatives you use are working.
Is Rosemary Oil Extract (ROE) a preservative?
No, Rosemary Oil Extract is an antioxidant, meaning that it will remove free radicals from your blend whether it is a lotion, soap, or oil. ROE is wonderful for adding life to oils and preventing them from going rancid, but it is not a preservative in the sense of bacterial inhibition (From Nature with Love). Bacteria can still grow in your products if ROE and water are both present.
Is sugar an acceptable preservative for bath and body products?
Again, any bath or body product that includes water or may get water into it needs a preservative. Sugar as a stand-alone cannot be used as a preservative in bath and body products. It is true that sugar can be used as a preservative such as with jams and jellies, but it is important to remember that the potency behind its preservative nature in these applications is that in jams and jellies, they are preserved in a vacuum; with no exposure to air.
That is why it is vital to ensure thorough sterilization of everything used in making jams and jellies, it is also why a strong seal and vacuum sealing is used to preserve these products. However, in the bath and body application, products are not kept in a vacuum. They are exposed to the elements air and water in which cross contamination can occur from use. These are all factors that will bolster the growth of bacteria in your formulations, so a bactericidal is necessary (From NatureWithLove):
Are there any natural preservatives?
No, not really. Natural substances that show antimicrobial activity are either not adequate for broad spectrum protection or they have undesirable qualities. Most natural substances are not active against the most threatening microbes, pseudomonads. Others, such as essential oils, require very high concentrations to be effective. Some have offensive odors or colors that would be unacceptable in skin care products. Many become inactivated by manufacturing procedures and other factors. So, a natural preservative is not really an option.
When Do You Have to Have an Antimicrobial Preservative
If you are formulating something that contains water, milk, hydrosols or other aqueous liquids, you will have to preserve the product or use it within 3-4 days refrigerated. It simply is not optional. Water provides a medium for harmful bacteria, mold, yeast and fungi to grow over time. If used, a contaminated product could cause severe health problems, blindness and even death. Your product must be adequately preserved to prevent contamination and microbial growth.
So, what are your options and how will your product differ from those found on store shelves?
- First, even with a preservative, your product is still a healthier alternative to commercial products because the remaining ingredients within your product are natural or gentle.
- Second, you won’t use unnecessarily high levels of preservatives like most commercial manufacturers use.
Your options will be based on your formulation and what it contains. Essential oils are the most natural antimicrobials you will find. Some natural product manufacturers have successfully used oils such as tea tree or combinations of various essential oils to maintain product integrity.
According to Preservatives for Cosmetics by David C. Steinberg, essential oils that have demonstrated antimicrobial activity include caraway, cinnamon, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, rose, rosemary, sage, sandalwood and thyme. Unfortunately, the percentage required to adequately protect a product from microbial growth generally exceeds the recommendations for safe amounts of essential oils to use in skin care products.
And lastly, here is an excellent link on preservatives and their importance in personal body care products. Click here –> Preservatives!The post The Truth About Preservatives in Hair Products first appeared on Demetrion Ware.