Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about the ingredients in their beauty, cosmetics, and skin care products. Preservatives receive extra attention, and there are growing conversations about the dangers and health risks associated with some synthetic preservatives.
If you are creating a natural skin care line, these conversations about preservatives can be concerning. At the same time, most skin care products require preservative ingredients to prevent the growth of microbes and keep the product from spoiling—and without preservatives, the products could be unsafe for consumers.
Fortunately, there are many natural preservatives for skin care products that you can use to protect both your users and products.
What Is the Purpose of Preservatives in Skin Care Products?
Skin care products that contain water—or those that may come into contact with water—are a potential breeding ground for dangerous microorganisms.
When someone purchases a skin care product, they are not going to use it in a sterile environment. That means every time the product is used, opened, or exposed to the air, microorganisms can get in—contaminating the product, causing it to spoil quickly, and potentially leading to adverse health effects.
These products require the addition of a preservative to ensure they are safe for consumers to use.
Preservatives are natural or synthetic ingredients used to prevent microbial growth. When preservatives are added to skin care products, they stop bacteria, mold, yeast, fungi, or other microbes from growing. To avoid product spoilage or negative health consequences like rashes, infections, and more, you must use preservatives in your skin care products.
However, many synthetic preservatives have been associated with health risks. Formaldehyde, parabens, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDA), and other toxic preservative ingredients have been linked to skin irritation, endocrine disruption, and other health concerns. Although the studies have not been formal controlled studies, the reports raise public health concerns.
Due to the perceived dangers of some synthetic preservatives, many consumers are looking for skin care products that use natural preservatives instead.
What Are Natural Preservatives?
Natural preservatives are preservative ingredients formed from naturally occurring substances.
There are several natural sources containing ingredients with antimicrobial properties, such as benzoic acid (strawberries, cayenne pepper), ethanol (fermented sugar or yeast), and benzyl alcohol (jasmine, ylang-ylang). When used at the right concentration, these antimicrobial molecules can function as natural preservatives in skin care, beauty, and cosmetics products.
Before these sources can be used as preservatives, they must be isolated from their botanical origin, purified, and analyzed. Additionally, many natural preservatives work most effectively in combination with other natural ingredients.
While the process of extracting preservative ingredients from natural sources requires more energy, money, and resources than developing commercial, synthetic alternatives, natural skin care brands may benefit from investing in natural preservative ingredients for their products.
Keep in mind that these preservatives must be tested in your products and challenged to be able to gain shelf life claims.
3 Common Natural Preservatives for Skin Care ProductsThese natural preservatives are commonly used to control the growth of microbes and extend the shelf life of skin care products. They often work in combination with other natural preservatives to provide more comprehensive protection.
- Potassium SorbatePotassium sorbate is a popular natural preservative often used in combination with other natural ingredients to achieve broad-spectrum protection against microbial growth and extend the shelf life of water-based products. It is a salt derived from sorbic acid, which is naturally found in some fruits and vegetables.
When used as a natural preservative in skin care products, potassium sorbate is generally considered a safe, effective, and versatile alternative to synthetic preservatives.
- Sodium BenzoateSodium benzoate is derived from benzoic acid, which is naturally found in some berries and other fruits. This salt is often used in acidic products such as shampoos and toners to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Sodium benzoate is commonly combined with other natural preservatives to provide broad-spectrum protection. This natural preservative is considered effective and safe to use in a wide range of skin care, beauty, cosmetic, and even food products.
- Benzyl AlcoholBenzyl alcohol is an organic compound found naturally in some plant-derived essential oils, such as jasmine and ylang-ylang. It comes in both natural and synthetic forms and is effective at inhibiting the growth of mold, bacteria, yeast, fungi, and other microorganisms when added to skin care products.
Additionally, benzyl alcohol serves as a stabilizing agent to prevent products from breaking down after being exposed to oxygen.
Benzyl alcohol offers a broad spectrum of protection and is used as a preservative in a wide variety of personal care products.
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Posted in Professional Skin Care