A preservative is not just necessary to stabilize our food supply; it plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of our cosmetic products.
The majority of us do not think of cosmetics as products that can be spoiled by bacterial growth, fungi, or yeasts. However, the use of preservatives saves the shelf life of cosmetic products. Knowingly or unknowingly you must have read cosmetics preservatives on your products.
Why do we need cosmetic preservatives?
They serve the same purpose as drug preservatives in the pharma industry. Our skin is our largest organ. Among other things, it acts as a barrier against the elements and regulates temperature, infection, and many other factors. We use cosmetic products on our skin because our skin reacts to them and can adapt to their environment.
Also, the pH level of the skin should be between 4-6.5. There are two types of pH levels: acidic and alkaline. Several microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, yeasts) cannot survive in an environment with a pH level below 4 or above 10 but thrive in an environment similar to our skin’s pH level.
It is possible to design products on the extreme end of the pH scale to prevent microorganism growth, but these products are likely to irritate or damage our skin. For this reason, preservatives are used to create an inhospitable environment for microorganisms while maintaining an optimal pH level.
Water is an ideal habitat for microorganisms, and most cosmetic products contain water as a major ingredient or one of the major ingredients. Furthermore, cosmetics contain numerous active ingredients, vitamins, and nutrients that make excellent food for microorganisms. Thus, providing a prime environment for their growth.
Preservatives also solve the problem of contamination. People normally don’t consider their hands contaminated, but they do contain microorganisms. Each time we touch a lotion jar or push the pump on a lotion bottle, we introduce new microorganisms that can quickly cause spoilage, or worse.
Most cosmetic products are kept in bathrooms where humidity and heat accumulate during showers. When you flush toilets, it may mist particulates onto or into our products. Even in this environment, preservatives prevent microorganism growth.
Essential oils as preservatives
Commercial antimicrobial agents have been used as a means of preventing food deterioration or contamination since ancient times.
In recent years, users have become more concerned about the use of synthetic preservatives, which has led to an increase in interest in natural antimicrobials such as essential oils. The essential oils of aromatic and medicinal plants have been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and food-preservative properties against a wide range of microorganisms
Why choose essential oils?
These essential oils are hydrophobic liquids containing aromatic compounds that are volatile and oily and found in a variety of plant parts such as twigs, flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, and roots. A variety of plant essential oils can enhance the flavor or aroma of cosmetics, food additives, soaps, plastic resins, and perfumes. A growing interest in essential oil applications as antimicrobial agents is driven by their broad range of activities, natural origins, and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status. That is why the antimicrobial properties of essential oils are currently being studied extensively
Several types of essential oils, including thyme, cinnamon, oregano, and lemongrass, enhance the safety and shelf life of food and cosmetic products.
Since essential oils contain a variety of active constituents (such as terpenes, terpenoids, carotenoids, coumarins, and curcumins), they possess strong antimicrobial and food preservative properties. It will be possible to use natural, safe, eco-friendly, cost-effective, renewable, and easily biodegradable antimicrobials for preservation through their various properties in the near future.
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