See those words at the back of your makeup or skincare bottle that you just can’t pronounce? Chances are it’s a type of preservative. Preservatives are typically considered a bad thing, but in reality, there are preservatives that when used at low concentrations can’t do any harm. For this post I’ll be sharing some information and perspective into the topic of preservatives.
So preservatives have a bad rep. Why use them at all?
Did you know that there are natural, organic skincare companies out there that support the use of preservatives? But before you quickly judge them, here’s why.
Living things need water to live and without it, life will cease to exist. Elementary, right? Well, water is the main reason why skincare and cosmetic companies use preservatives when it comes to products that contain water. Without preservatives, water-based products would be prone to different kinds of bacteria that inhabit water naturally which will eventually cause the product to be defective, contaminated, or unusable.
A thing to note: companies sometimes don’t use the word water outright on the label. Look out for terms like “extracts” or “aloe vera juice.” Sneaky, sneaky!
Without preservatives, water-based products can go bad in days to weeks, and you won’t even notice it in the appearance or smell. So if you’re a fan of making your own DIY skincare recipes, it’s really best to use it all up in a day or two, and keep it in the fridge when not in use.
Are there products that don’t have preservatives?
The simple answer is yes – dry products or products in powder form usually don’t need preservatives – even oil-based products. Products that have oils typically have ingredients added in like honey or vinegar which act as natural self-preserving agents.
Which preservatives are toxic and non-toxic?
Preservatives come in many forms, and some are just much safer to use on your body than others, so watch out.
The top of the list is probably parabens. Parabens are fungal and bacterial-fighting preservatives that are being related to a variety of health issues.
Other preservatives to stay far away from:
- DMDM hydantoin which releases formaldehyde
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Imidazolidinyl urea
You can also check out what’s on the “dirty dozen” list to know the other toxic chemicals you should stay away from.
These are the non-toxic preservatives most commonly used by the cleaner brands.
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Propylene Glycol
- other antioxidants and essential oils like turmertic, rosemary, oregano, and tea tree
As my final word on this topic, what you can and should do as a responsible consumer is to always check labels and do enough research if you’re unsure about a certain product or specific ingredient. With all these resources on the internet in this day and age, you’ll never run out of information on how to best take care of your skin.
What’s your take on toxic and non-toxic preservatives? Please share below!
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