May 22, 2010

To Preserve or Not to Preserve...

It seems the whole world is going "green" or at least intimating they are. There is a lot of talk out there about foods, medicines and cosmetic products that contain alleged harmful chemical substances. Some of them do, but not all of what is being labeled as unsafe ingredients actually deserve the bad name. So what is the truth? It really depends on your source of information. Cosmetic chemists, doctors and cosmetic business owners might have different opinions on some ingredients than nature activists and self-proclaimed cosmetic cops. You've heard the saying,"If it's on the internet, it MUST be true!" Not always. You have to make sure your sources are legitimate and not just spewing scary information to get you to purchase a certain product or join their organization.

One of the hottest and most belabored topics is preservation of cosmetic and personal care products. There are numerous preservatives on the market ranging from parabens to essential oil mixes that claim to protect products from mold, yeast and fungi, among other things. Many of them work, some of them not so much. There are also a lot of cosmetic and personal care companies that make preservative-free claims. Some of them are telling the truth, the others, well, not so much.

One thing that remains a hard and fast rule is that water-based products or those that are likely to be exposed to water/moisture/humidity that are not properly preserved will eventually become hosts to any number of microorganisms that thrive in that environment. I prefer to use products that have been adequately preserved with tested, tried and true preservatives that will protect my products and my customers from being contaminated with say Staphylococcus. Yuck! Okay, so that's an extreme example, but the possibilities of contamination are many and varied and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to use products with "stuff" growing in them, I know I don't.

There are many new preservative systems popping up in the industry and hopefully some day we will find a way to preserve personal care products with completely natural ingredients. Scientists are working on it as we speak! The microbes have had a few zillion years to get really good at what they do. In the meantime we will use proper preservation techniques, good manufacturing practices and packaging that helps to maintain product integrity to ensure you get all the good stuff out of our spa and bath treats, and none of the bad!