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Is there such a thing as a natural preservative?

In the natural/organic skin care industry preservatives are always a concern. When minimizing a customers’ exposure to toxins becomes a priority, formulating a safe product with a long shelf life is a challenge. The formula must have an antimicrobial that kills or inhibits growth of bacteria and an antioxidant to prevent the product from going rancid. The industry has come a long way in the last six years in creating options. There has been so much consumer education in regards to cosmetic toxins that the demand for safe or natural preservatives has grown considerably. An organic/natural skin care company usually does one of two things – formulates with preserving plant extracts (tricky) or adds a synthetic but safe preservative. Here is a list of the most popular choices:

Natural Preservatives

Antimicrobials – grapefruit seed extract, essential oils (there are many different combinations that work)

Antioxidants – rosemary leaf extract, green tea extract

Synthetic but Safe Preservatives (according to the Environmental Working Group)

Antimicrobials – potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate.

Antioxidants – vitamin E, vitamin C palmitate

There are many, many other choices and safe options out there. When in doubt, always check questionable ingredients at www.cosmeticdatabase.com.

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