After many years of using skin care products in my own salon, wanting the best for my clients and myself I wanted to help aging and problematic skin, however determining what was best for overall skin health.
I knew I didn’t want to use creams loaded with a bunch of synthetics or harmful chemicals, and I felt I wanted a naturally preserved product as well. I mean, after all, the synthetic preservatives have been getting slammed lately and the negative press forced me to take a closer look at going natural. The new generation buzz words were “Go Natural” or “Go Green”.
I have found so many retailers offering some fantastic skincare products. The pictures are enticing you to buy them. And I have too! They smell so good when you first crack the lid on the jar, you just can’t wait to try them out. I use them for a while and after about 2/3rds of the way through the product, I notice a funky smell or they seem to be separating. What happened?
Well this is when I learned more about the differences in preservatives, and there are definitely two divided camps on this issue. So I examined both sides and came to my own conclusion on this matter..
Is it really about a bad or good preservative? Preservatives are necessary due to creams and lotions being formulated with water to help emulsify the ingredients. This gives the product the lovely texture we know and love. Even though the thought of a naturally preserved product sounds perfect, going with a natural product can also provide a haven for yeast, mold, bacteria and fungi. So the natural ingredients we strive for also produce natural sugars and in a moist environment these plant extracts provide their favorite food source.
The only time you can typically get away from preservatives is when there is no water added such as with the case of thick body butter scrubs. These are strictly melted and whipped together to create the product. They are not emulsified, so water is unnecessary. However, I still look for a bit of natural preservative in these due to the fact body scrubs are used where?
What’s in the shower?….That’s right, water! Many of us don’t stop to think about it. I know I haven’t! And I am sure, neither have you! So, when using these close to water or dipping wet hands into the jar, water has now been introduced and all the nasties can begin to grow. This includes naturally created shampoos and conditioners Naturally Preserved ~ for those who prefer this method for their skin care, they have chosen out of a need to purify their lives and remove as many chemicals from their products as they can. I am in full agreement with this lifestyle. It is great to protect our bodies from further contamination. The downside to purchasing these products which are naturally preserved or even preservative free is about storage and handling and their cost. They are typically very expensive to produce.
The preservative free products must be manufactured in small batches and in many cases they are only produced once the order is placed. These are great products for those who are patient and can wait for their special cream, but it is difficult to mass produce these on a higher commercial level which can be a hindrance for growing a business or for a consumer needing their product immediately.
Unfortunately, preservative free products must be stored in the refrigerator immediately after opening and must be made in the most sterile environment possible, and I do mean sterile. So purchasing from a trusted source is essential. They also typically cannot be shipped during hot summer months. They also should be used up within a few days to a week, despite what you may have been told by the seller. If they say they can withstand longer then you may call into question whether or not it is truly preservative free. Sometimes preservatives are left off the ingredient list by the unscrupulous or are masked under the label “other ingredients” or “fragrance”. Anything below 1% ratio is allowed by the FDA to be listed this way. This allows big brands to get away with all these preservatives in their products.
Constant dipping of fingers, steam from the bathroom or getting any kind of moisture inside the jar, will begin deteriorating the product and bacteria will multiply at an astounding rate unless they are sold in an airless pump. Also, refrigeration will not stop nasties from growing; it will only slow the rate a bit. Just look at food stored in the refrigerator, if forgotten after a few days or a week, you go back and find something fuzzy resembling a Chia pet or smelling rank. This same principal applies to your skin crème. In an airless pump the product could sustain longer, how long is not known exactly. Challenge testing is usually required to know precisely and even if something looks and smells fine, the vast numbers of micro-organisms can only be detected under a microscope!
Also to consider: a preservative free product or naturally preserved product cannot fight off the nasties as well as a synthetically preserved product. Once you introduce the open jar into your bathroom, or in your purse, or leave it in a hot car, you will see these are all prime environmental changes which will rapidly cause bacteria to grow in the product. The special handling, extremely short shelf life of preservative free skin care products, plus the frozen face feel for these types of crèmes, pretty much help determine these weren’t quite for me. So I looked in to naturally preserved skincare for my BRAND.
For those who use natural preservatives, they can buy a bit more time in way of product life, usually up to 6 months shelf life before opening. After that, the product should be used up within 30 days. There are some natural preservatives that have been shown to be quite effective but they are not indestructible to air and water contamination, whereby this essentially can make them ineffective to deterioration or oxidation.
Discover your paraben and chemically free skincare range at www.laskincare.co.uk