A word (or two) about preservatives Part I

bacterial growth fungi mold preservatives product formulation yeast

Well what began as one innocent blog entry has turned into a three part series because as I went through my books and other resources I found that there was a lot of information and wanted to paint a whole picture for the reader.  Please enjoy my little preservative series.

This is something we are often asked about regarding our lotions and scrubs.  In a word, yes we use preservatives because we are a responsible company who wishes to do no harm to our wonderful customers.  Now let's explore why we consider it responsible and safe to use preservatives.  While we are at it, let's explore different types on the market as well as "natural" versus synthetic.

We will discuss some commonly used preservatives which can be found in products produced by smaller companies such as Soapsmiths.

1. Germaben II- Ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
I know you see the word "paraben"  we will discuss this in another blog post.  This preservative is ideal for both oil and water emulsions.  It is a complete antimicrobial preservative system which has broad spectrum coverage.  The two parabens listed help to make it effective against bacterias as well as yeast and mold.  According to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) while this product can cause irritation to eyes and skin at full strength (this is NEVER the case when used in formulations) studies indicate that there are no known chronic health hazards.

2. Phenonip- Ingredients: Phenoxyethanol (and) Methylparaben (and) Ethylparaben (and) Butylparaben (and) Propylparaben (and) Isobutylparaben.
Much like Germaben in what is will protect against.  This preservative will work in both water and oil based emulsions.  It is a broad spectrum antimicrobial and also effective against yeast and mold.

3. Optiphen Plus- Ingredients: Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid 
ISP's second globally approved preservative in the Optiphen family developed as an alternative for personal care formulations requiring a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative system, particularly within lower pH systems. Optiphen Plus performs best in formulations below 6.0 pH, but is also proven effective at pH levels above 6.0.  From personal experience I know that this preservative performs better in oil based emulsions.  Also it has pH restraints which must be taken into consideration.

4. NataPres- Ingredients: Glycerin, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, lonicera japonica (honey-suckle) flower extract, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) extract, populus tremuloides bark extract, glucono-lactone.  This is a newer preservative to hit the market and you will probably start hearing about it and seeing it more in the future.  We could not find it's MSDS sheet but will keep looking as that is a good source which will measure this preservative and challenge as the previous ones have been.  

A reliable vendor did an independent test in their lab and published their findings, here they are: 
NataPres™ it turns out is just another ineffective natural preservative riding the wave of consumer demand.  We tested out NataPres™ in our lab and the intital results were promising.  It passed early testing, but eventually failed.  When Ryan called the NataPres™ manufacturers with our failed results they revealed that NataPres™ needed to be used in conjunction with an anti-fungal agent to create a properly preserved emulsion. 
Ryan asked if their lab results with NataPres™ were similiar to ours and found that indeed they had found in their testing that it failed against fungus.

Don't be fooled by ingredients that sound too good to be true.

Stay bubbly my friends
~Your Soapsmith

 http://essentialu.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/12/review-of-natapres-preservative.html (review of the NataPres preservative)

Milady's skincare and cosmetic ingredients dictionary, 3rd Edition By: Natalia Michalun and M. Varinia Michalun

The green beauty guide By: Julie Gabriel

www.lotioncrafter.com (for the MSDS sheets and ingredients)

www.chemistrystore.com (for the MSDS sheets and ingredients)


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