Preservatives in cosmetics have become a critical component for ensuring the safety and longevity of cosmetic products today. Unfortunately, due to misleading marketing tactics and the proliferation of misinformation on websites and social media, consumer confidence in companies has been eroded. Many consumers now mistakenly believe that preservatives are included merely to enhance the “chemical” aspect of the formula, overshadowing the crucial role these ingredients play in maintaining microbiological safety throughout the product’s shelf life and the period indicated by the PAO (period after opening).
It’s important to clarify that certain types of cosmetics do not require preservatives and therefore do not use them. For instance, perfumes, which contain a high percentage of ethyl alcohol, possess inherent preservative properties due to the presence of alcohol. Likewise, cosmetic products that lack water content, such as body oils, hair oils, sunscreen oils, and specific aerosol products with a high gas concentration, do not necessitate preservatives since these conditions are unfavorable for microbial growth.
In essence, the primary purpose of preservatives is to inhibit the growth and proliferation of microorganisms when conditions are conducive to their development. These favorable conditions can arise from both the formulation itself and the external environment.
What are preservatives in cosmetics and why are they essential for product safety?
Water is the key element in understanding the importance of preservatives.
Water is life: it is the breeding ground for micro-organisms.
Omitting the use of a preservative in a water-based cosmetic, or one containing any amount of water, would inevitably lead to the rapid proliferation of microorganisms. These microorganisms can manifest visibly, such as in the form of molds and yeasts, or silently damage the formulation over time, all while the unsuspecting user continues to apply the cosmetic.
Incorporating a preservative into a formulation isn’t a discretionary choice for cosmetic companies; rather, it is an imperative necessity. However, the specific type of preservative and its concentration within the formula are contingent on various factors. These factors encompass the pH level of the preparation, the range of microorganisms the preservative is effective against, and the type of packaging used (for instance, a cosmetic in a jar offers more surface area prone to contamination compared to one in an airless bottle).
Cosmetic preservatives to protect products from bacterial contamination.
When a cosmetic product is used, it inevitably interacts with the surrounding environment and all the impurities it contains. The user’s hands, far from being sterile, can potentially introduce sources of contamination. The inclusion of preservatives plays a crucial role in preventing the proliferation of any microorganisms that the cosmetic encounters during its lifespan.
Over time, cosmetics manufacturers have made strides in developing innovative formulations that permit the use of preservatives that align more closely with natural ingredients. This approach involves harnessing the synergistic potential of naturally derived components, such as those extracted from essential oils or plant-based oils. By combining two or more ingredients that might individually lack potency, a comprehensive spectrum of action is achieved, ensuring the safe preservation of the cosmetic product.
Natural Preservatives for Cosmetics: Safe and Sustainable Options.
In detail, a natural preservative can be obtained by esterification of plant-derived glycerol with a natural ingredient, characterised by a chain length suitable for destabilising the cell membrane of microorganisms. They do not act alone in the preservation of a cosmetic, but are crucial in reducing the overall concentration of the preservative system by facilitating its entry into microbial cells.
They are also a valuable contribution to the quest for cosmetic sustainability due to their natural origin.
Natural preservative for beauty creams
Cosmoderma, in its role as a cosmetics contract manufacturer, has dedicated significant efforts to elevate its formulations. This commitment extends to embracing sustainability principles, exemplified by the careful choice of natural preservatives. These preservatives not only ensure microbiological safety throughout the cosmetic product’s lifespan but also demonstrate a profound reverence for both the environment and the well-being of consumers’ skin.