What Are Preservatives In Cosmetics & Skin Care?

We’ve been conditioned to think of preservatives as the “bad guys.” You know, those nasty chemicals added to foods like Twinkies with a seemingly infinite shelf life…

So it’s no wonder that we tend to cringe when we hear that a product contains preservatives! But are they really all that terrible? When it comes to skin care products you may very well notice that a product contains strange sounding ingredients, but here’s the kicker…

Just because you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it doesn’t mean you should dismiss it just yet. We are firm believers in doing all your research before investing your precious dollar bills into a product. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can purchase a product with full confidence and assurance that it’s safe for you and your family.

In this article we’ll delve a little deeper into the world of preservatives, and why exactly we use natural preservatives here at CaLoveCo.

Why are preservatives added to skin care products?

Since most skin care products contain water, they absolutely require one or more preservatives. The reason for this is because a water-based environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And as you can imagine, using products on your face and body that are filled with bacteria is not exactly safe.

Preservatives are therefore not only added to skin care products to kill microorganisms and prevent them from growing, they also do the following:

  • Protect against product spoilage
  • Prevent discoloration
  • Protect against decay

It bears mentioning that DIY skin and body care recipes online are concerning and in some cases potentially hazardous. Well-meaning bloggers simply don’t share that even waterless products can become infested with bacteria when used in a wet environment (such as a steamy bathroom).

You may find a recipe or buy a product that contains oils as the preservatives. While it’s certainly true that oils (such as coconut oil) function as preservatives all on their own, you should always keep in mind that these products are only protected as long as no water or steam is allowed to enter.

Are there natural preservatives that actually benefit your skin?

Natural compounds that occur in nature are used as preservatives thanks to their potent antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Salicylic acid is a prime example. Many people have come to think of salicylic acid as a “pimple popper,” and while it’s certainly fantastic for problem skin, it is far more than just a popular acne ingredient.

Derived from the bark of the willow tree and evergreen leaves, salicylic acid has been used for centuries by various cultures as a natural remedy to treat an array of ailments thanks to these powerful antimicrobial properties that target blemishes and skin irritations and heal them fast.

It’s these antimicrobial properties that make it ideal for use as a preservative in products that need it, in small amounts of course!

Salicylic acid will help to

  • Gently exfoliate the skin
  • Clear dirt and debris from your pores
  • Kill bacteria that may contribute to pimples
  • Soften the skin beautifully

In this article we’ve just scratched the surface on preservatives, both good, and bad. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter to be informed of all future posts, because the more you know, the better you’re able to make informed decisions when it comes to your families health and beauty regimes.

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