Preservatives in Natural Skincare - why do we need them?

There is a lot of bad press out there when it comes to preservatives in cosmetics. Some argue that preservatives are chemicals and therefore shouldn’t be found in skincare altogether, let alone in natural skincare products. There are however, very good reasons why we need them and should include them in skincare products. If a skincare product doesn’t have a preservative and contains hydrous components in the formula, according to the safety regulation it cannot be legally sold. We’ll explain below.

What is a preservative?

A preservative is there to make sure your product’s integrity isn’t compromised, that it’s preserved in its original state. Obviously, preservatives won’t always be able to be deemed natural, but more importantly preservatives keep our skin care products safe. 

If a product doesn’t contain a preservative, it leaves itself vulnerable to growing bacteria, yeast, and fungi which can wreak havoc on your skin. The product can become unsafe and even dangerous to our health.

Skincare products lend themselves especially well and vulnerable to this due to the fact that these are often wet or moist ingredients, which is ideal for bacteria to grow in. Too much bacteria or fungi in your skincare products can lead to breakouts, acne, and infections on your skin. 

Anytime you leave your product open or you dip your fingers into it, you are increasing the chances of such bacteria or fungi to grow. However, preservatives allow for your skincare products to remain safe and clean for you for a longer period of time. 

Natural preservatives:

While preservatives can be found naturally occurring in plant ingredients, it’s difficult and nearly impossible to find them in the quantity and concentration that is needed for a skincare product. COSMOS for example allows in its certification process a list of preservatives that are as close to its natural origin as possible. 

Think about skincare products, we use them for extended periods of time. We use them for weeks, and often months; which lends itself to many many opportunities for it to go bad or grow bacteria. Preservatives allow for this not to happen, which is why no matter how natural a product is, preservatives are a MUST - for your safety and well-being. 

Natural preservatives- not always safe

Some preservatives that many natural skincare companies use but aren’t deemed as safe enough for products containing water or hydrosols, include glycerine, essential oils, honey and vitamin E. Most of these unfortunately don’t work in these formulas because as mentioned naturally occurring anti-microbial properties are found at extremely low dosages, not enough to offer our skin the protection it needs in order to be safe from harmful bacteria and yeast. 

While natural is often preferred, this is why most natural skincare products do require a minimal amount of more natural-derived ingredients that aren’t 100% pure in its state and processing, because quite frankly - it’s better for you. 

Natural is always a preference for us at Potion Organic, but we care about your health which is why we do make sure to include a preservative in your skincare for you. This helps you not waste your money and feel and look good at the same time! 

At present we only use one type of preservative in our hydrosol containing formulas called Preservative Eco (Benzyl Alcohol & Salicylic Acid & Glycerin & Sorbic Acid). This preservative eco is both COSMOS and Ecocert compliant and has no Parabens, no Phenoxyethanol, no Isothiazolones and no Formaldehyde.