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A few things to consider between natural and synthetic cosmetic preservatives.


Synthetic preservatives have been widely used for many years for cosmetics formulations. Recently, however, the request for natural preservatives have increased due to evidence of toxicity in certain synthetic preservatives.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both Natural and Synthetic preservatives, that should be considered.

There are many benefits to synthetic cosmetic preservatives such as: a broad-spectrum of activity against bacteria and fungi, consistency from batch to batch, a relatively low cost, safety/toxicity profiles are well understood, compatibility with other cosmetic and personal care product ingredients is well understood., low concentrations required to effectively preserve products, they generally do not interfere with fragrance, lather, color, or other aspects of a given formulation.

There are some drawbacks to synthetic preservatives as well: They are often petroleum based, some consumers find them irritating to the skin, they Interfere with "natural" and "organic" product labeling, they may require a narrow pH range to be effective.

The benefits of natural preservatives to be considered: They often function over a broad pH range, they allow "natural" and sometimes "organic" product labeling, consumers generally prefer natural preservatives over synthetic preservatives, many associate natural fragrances to the products.

Drawbacks to natural preservatives: Often do not inhibit microbial growth as well as synthetic counterparts, they often lack a broad-spectrum of activity. For example, a natural preservative may inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus or "Staph" in a formulation, but may have a no mold-inhibiting effect, and may require relatively high concentrations in formulations to be effective. Natural preservatives often have undesirable impact to other aspects of formulations, such as color, fragrance, or lather, consistency and potency may vary considerably from batch to batch.

Before choosing which preservative is best for your cosmetic products consider the implications and confer with you supplier for an informed decision.

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