Preservatives In Our Skincare, Are They Necessary?

Why do most skincare products out there contain preservatives? Think fresh food vs preserved food. To extend shelf life and prevent bacterial growth.

A majority of skincare and personal care products contain preservatives, typically synthetic. After all, they are the easiest and cheapest. With the recent move away from synthetic preservatives like parabens due to some concerns, alternative methods to maintain product quality have become increasingly important.

Without the conventional synthetic preservatives, how do manufacturers ensure products maintain their shelf lives? Stringent manufacturing processes and natural preservatives like essential oils. (Sidenote: We love efficient skin care. Not only do essential oils act as a preservative, they provide a lovely scent and have therapeutic qualities!)

Next, the type of packaging matters. The bigger it is, the longer it has to last. This means, more preservatives are required. The amount of preservatives added to a product is typically what’s required to preserve the biggest packaging being sold. Type of packaging also plays a big part in how well a product keeps, the less exposure to air and dirty hands, the better.

Does it have to be expensive? Yes and No. Yes, it costs more to make. BUT there are brands out there selling essential oil based products for less than those with synthetic preservatives and fragrances. Savvy consumers are starting to realise it is possible to buy mild, safe and affordable skincare.

Fresh Food

Just like how we like our food, we believe that our skincare should be fresh. That’s when a product’s actives are at their best. How do you choose a fresh product that uses natural preservatives and can still maintain its shelf life?

  1. Check the ingredients through independent websites like www.ewg.org/skindeep
  2. Check that the product has natural preservatives like essential oils.
  3. Find out if it has been manufactured with frequency of use and size of bottle in mind.
  4. Check that the product has been produced in a clean facility with good manufacturing practices.
  5. If there is any water used in the product, make sure it has been highly sterilised, e.g. reverse osmosis water.

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