Preservation Strategies For Natural Formulators

MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
edited December 2014 in Formulating
Preservation is a very complex issue and those of us formulating in the "Natural" realm face challenges as the choice of preservatives are more limited and the preservative options are not as efficacious.  Preservation is not as simple as adding 1% of a preservative to your formulation.  You best think of it from the perspective of a "preservation systems" approach:


(1)  Follow strict GMP:  Simple things like always wearing gloves when formulating, wiping down all of your equipment and vessels with alcohol immediately before use.


Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
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Comments

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    (2)  Make certain your are using a broad spectrum preservative blend that is effective against bacteria, yeast & mold.

    (3)  An effective option is to use as a base, organic acid preservative blends that have a long history of use in the food industry (effective against Fungi - yeasts & molds):

    Potassium Sorbate/Sorbic Acid
    Sodium Benzoate/Benzoic Acid
    Dehydroacetic Acid

    Examples are:  Gluconolactone/Sodium Benzoate, Dehydroacetic Acid/Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol/Benzoic Acid/Sorbic Acid

    Other newer options include:  Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Anisic Acid (Parfum), Salicylic Acid (Organic or Aspen Bark Extract), Citric Acid

    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited December 2014

    (4)  Adjust the pH of your final formulation to 5.0 or below.  Since the natural acid mantle barrier of the skin is pH 4.7 to 5.1, formulating at pH <4.5 not only enhances your preservation efficacy, it also minimally disrupts the acid mantle barrier.

    (5)  Use preservative boosters:

    (a)  Chelating Agents:  Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate (0.2%) + Citric Acid (.02%) is as effective as EDTA in boosting preservative efficacy

    (b)  Glycols:  1,3-Propanediol, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol:  Help reduce bacterial growth by reducing free water activity.  Plus, these are good humectants/moisturizers.  Since Glycerin has a very sticky feel on the skin, you might consider using 1,3-Propanediol at 5% and Glycine at 2% in your formulations.

    (c)  Phenethyl Alcohol - found in many essential oils, it suppresses odor causing bacteria, and smells like Rose.

    (d)  Ethylhexylglycerin:  A nice emollient that inhibits bacterial growth.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    You will run across much information that natural preservatives include honey, essential oils, Radish Root Extract, Honeysuckle, etc., but these should not be relied upon as preservatives, but ingredients in your formulation, and, at best, preservative boosters.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking that adding Radish Root Ferment and Honey is going to preserve your formulation ... might as well just throw in some Kimchi  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • nasrinsnasrins Member
    edited December 2014

    MarkBroussard<formulating at pH <4.5 not only enhances your preservation efficacy, it also minimally disrupts the acid mantle barrier.>

    you mean pH>4.5 ya?

     

  • Excellent......Im not native english but I understood fully

  • MarkBroussard .. it helps in my current project; edible hand and body lotion ( actually it is safe cream to apply on baby & mommy skin)....the idea comes from my customer who wants something different for her product range...

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @nasrins:

    No, you want to adjust your formulation final pH to ph<4.5 to inhibit microbial growth and it's good for the acid mantle barrier.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @markbroussard yes you are right...
  • yongnn30yongnn30 Member
    edited December 2014

    my references for Edible Hand and Body lotion is

    you have to log in for the formulation

    http://www.ulprospector.com/en/na/PersonalCare/Detail/6576/239182/YumEdible-Body-Lotion-Formulation-DF-9650

    (I got the copy from CP Kelco sales rep. since the page is inaccessible for Asia User)

  • LisetLiset Member
    edited December 2014
    I am formulating natural products. I am using a mixture of Benzyl alcohol, Benzoic acid, Sorbic acid and Glycerin as preservative. The mixture is called Rokonsal BSB-N. To use Rokonsal BSB-N as preservative system the pH of your product can not be higher than 5
  • LisetLiset Member
    edited December 2014
    I am formulating natural products. I am using a mixture of Benzyl alcohol, Benzoic acid, Sorbic acid and Glycerin as preservative. The mixture is called Rokonsal BSB-N. To use Rokonsal BSB-N as preservative system the pH of your product should not be higher than 5
  • Isn't sodium benzoate (benzoic acid) a known skin irritant?
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Sodium Benzoate is GRAS by the FDA.  Almost anything can be a skin irritant at high enough levels.  It all depends on the amount of sodium benzoate and the sensitivity of the person's skin.  Generally, at the levels used in cosmetics, there is not problem.

    But, you CANNOT mix Sodium Benzoate with Vitamin C.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • European Commission states that Benzoic acid is a mild skin irritant, and sodium benzoate is not a skin irritant. 

  • @markbroussard what are different between parabens and isothiazolin?
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    @nasrins, asking that is like asking the difference between apples and bricks. Entirely different chemicals, very few points of comparison.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • @bobzchemist paraben is an apple and isothiazolin is a brick howevere both are preservatives, ya?
    :D I dont have any interest in studyng about preservatives and  I want to get from others experiences
    ;;) :D
  • BelassiBelassi Member
    edited December 2014
    @nasrins: It's very complicated but speaking strictly about product, different preservative systems result in different characteristics. Some preservatives are not suitable for some applications: for instance, parabens as far as I can see is unsuitable for systems that contain no lipid components or polyols because you cannot dissolve it. So I use Spectrastat for that purpose. But I wouldn't use Spectrastat in a shampoo because it would kill the foam, and anyway, simple preservatives such as potassium sorbate work very well in such products.
    There do exist very effective preservatives for which you can actually claim products are "preservative free". Spectrastat is one of them. 
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @nasrins:  I do not use parabens nor isothiazolin, so I cannot help you out there.  But, Parabens are a perfectly fine preservative to use where appropriate and the negative PR is based on a misinterpretation of a published study ... they are safe and effective, but the market perception stigma lingers.

    I can tell you that it is well worth your time to learn about preservatives since they are a critical component of any formulation and no matter what formulation you make, you're going to need a preservative/preservation strategy.

    In particular, you need to be aware of incompatibilities between preservation systems and certain ingredients ... for instance, sodium benzoate should not be used in Vitamin C formulations lest you end up with Benzene in your product, Polysorbates can inactivate Phenoxyethanol.

    Reference www.makingskincare.com ... her review of 27 preservatives is invaluable.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • I dont have any background about microbes, I dont even know what is gram+ and gram-. but you are right I shoud start.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @nasrins:

    You really don't need to know anything about gram+ or gram- bacteria, or fungi (yeasts + molds) other than that they can contaminate your product.  

    What you do need to know is which preservatives are effective against bacteria, which are effective against yeasts and which are effective against molds.  Each individual preservative will be effective against either of the microbes or fungi, but generally not against the entire spectrum, which is why you generally use preservative blends to achieve broad spectrum coverage.

    Once you get it down to 2 or 3 preservative blend options, you will find that you use these same blends time and again as you are confident of their effectiveness and you're consideration becomes whether they are water soluble or not and do they conflict with any of your ingredients. 


    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • DavidWDavidW Member, PCF student
    @nasrins ; Liquid Germall Plus 0.5% and you will be ok 99% of the time.  But be careful the other 1% of the time.
  • I use parabens for creams,lotions and other emulsions, for shampoos and other showers I use isothiazolines but I just use and no have any idea about them. I accept them.
  • yongnn30yongnn30 Member
    edited December 2014

    My Supplier send me sample of natural preservatives that work within pH 4 - 9...also can claimed it as preservatives free... I'm going to try it on next week and update it here

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Yongnn30:

    What are the components of the natural preservatives you were given?  It is very difficult to find a preservative that is effective at pH above 6.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @markbroussard why preservatives are inactive at pH above 6?
  • What about Gluconolactone and Potasium sorbate?
    Can someone combine these two and claim "Natural Preservative"?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @nasrins ... because most are organic acids (at least the ones that I work with)

    @braveheart:  Yes, Gluconolactone and Sodium Benzoate are commonly used together and are ECOCert.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thanks MarkBroussard.
    But do you think those two would cover bacteria and fungi?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    No, Gluconolactone has minimal, if any preservation effect. So, you need to supplement the potassium sorbate with a bactericide, a chelating agent and some citric acid.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, PCF student
    edited December 2014
    braveheart, yongnn30, nasrins, There is a LOT more to preserving a product than just adding a preservative. In this post I set out the checklist below https://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk/discussion/598/experiences-with-leucidal-liquid-as-a-natural-preservative-in-creams-and-lotions/p1 

    (The checklist which was originally taken from http://www.makingskincare.com/preservatives/ which Mark also refers to above)

    1. Minimise sources of energy for microbial growth (aka "bug food") - eg fruit, botanicals, tea, lecithin, mineral water, milk of any kind, honey, hydrosols, floral waters, aloe vera, extracts, protein, clay, powders, starches etc - reduce these to a tiny % (eg 0.1%). This is very important. 
    2. Double check against the webpage above whether your preservative is truly broad spectrum.  If your preservative isn't one of the 27 reviewed on this webpage check for it here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/permalink/529462787179550/ (If you can't access this second link do first join the Making Skincare facebook group here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/)
    3. Add glycerin and other polyols
    4. Add 0.2% disodium EDTA into the heated water phase
    5. Switch to packaging which the customer can't contaminate easily - jars are the worst for contamination. 
    6. Reduce the pH to between 4 and 5 if possible.
    7. Sanitise your equipment with 70% IPA
    8. Use distilled, deionised or purified water, not tap/faucet or mineral water
    9. If your water isn't micro checked, heat and hold your water phase at 75c/167f for 20 minutes - this will kill some of the non-endospore forming bacteria. (If your preservative can withstand heat put it in the heated water phase rather than the heated oil phase. This improves preservative contact with the water phase so that it is not partitioned in the water-oil interface).
    10. If possible micro test all of your raw materials.
    12. Don't rely on sight, smell - one can put 100,000 bacteria into a milliliter of water and the water will appear to the naked eye to be crystal clear and usually won't smell bad. Most cosmetics tested have counts ranging into the tens of thousands or millions of cells per milliliter have subtle or no aesthetic differences from sterile samples. The only way to know if your preservative system is working is to get it tested.

    Jane Barber
    www.makingskincare.com
    www.learncosmeticformulation.com (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members): www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/
  • yongnn30yongnn30 Member
    edited December 2014
    @MarkBroussard.. The material that I'm using to claim as preservatives free for My Natural Toothpaste formulation is Saliguard EZ, compatible from pH4 to pH9.. Inci name propanediol & ethylhexylhlycerin..

    The second formulation, we try it without any "preservatives"... Million Thanks to @MakingSkincare for the superb idea... Tough day to go towards accomplish this task...
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @yongnn30:

    I would venture to say that Saliguard EZ is a combination of preservative boosters, but would be wary of using Salisguard EZ by itself as a preservative.  EHG will give you some effect against microorganisms as a preservative, but it is not broad spectrum.  1,3-Propanediol will also boost preservative efficacy by binding free water.

    It would appear that you do not have anything in there to provide protection against yeast & mold.  You might try throwing in some Sodium Anisate & Sodium Levulinate to round out your coverage.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • OMG!!.. Thanks @MarkBroussard... Will stick to second formulation (without any preservatives) and monitor it while searching for alternatives Of Saliguard EZ

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Oh!  Don't misunderstand my post.  Salisguard EZ will indeed help with preservation, but would only be one part of a preservation strategy.  It needs to be supplemented with an antifungal.

    Just curious ... why do you not want to include preseratives?  In a toothpaste, I would think this to be quite risky ... much more so than in a topical skincare product.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • I see.... :-? Currently we are using Sodium Benzoate to preserve toothpaste at pH7 to pH8. Since our new customer asking for natural toothpaste (with premium quality) we are considering something that Natural/safe/less irritant. So our team decide to come out with everything Natural in the formulation (its totally crazy to deal with this kind of formulation).... the final idea, toothpaste without preservatives or with natural preservatives...

    @MarkBroussard... do have any idea on SLS or Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate substitute?... for this moment we have Lathanol (inci Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate) and Sapponin Complex but we looking for more option for Natural surfactant

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Yongnn30:

    Take a look at the chemical structure of Sodium Benzoate and the structure of Sodium Anisate ... very similar.  You might consider Dermasoft 1388 from Dr. Straetmann's (Germany) plus some Salisguard EZ as your natural preservatives for this product.  Also, look at the chemical structure of Potassium Sorbate compared to Sodium Levulinate ... same similarity.

    As for toothpaste without preservatives.  Frankly, I just do not understand the whole "Preservative-Free" concept.  To me, that is an unnecessarily risky business proposition.  Besides the potential for an embarrassing, and perhaps business-ending, product recall, there is also the liability issue.  Just try explaining in a lawsuit that your "Preservative-Free" formulation actually did indeed have preservatives and was safe for use.

    Let me get back to you on surfactant options.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thanks @MarkBroussard... you are absolutely superb!!!...

    I have to start from basic and analyze everything in the formulation before start it all over again.... by considering everything you just mentioned... Thanks once again

  • braveheartbraveheart Member
    edited December 2014
    @MakingSkincare... Thanks
    @MarkBroussard... Thanks 

    Sodium benzoate with L-Ascorbic acid will form a benzene, isn't it?
    What else can someone combine with sorbic acid to form a broad spectrum, please?
    What other "green" bactericide is there?
  • So many of the "green" preservatives suggested on this forum are not easily available in the UK.
    I am looking for something that is "green" and easily available in the UK as a bactericide, while avoiding Sodium benzoate because of the potential hazards with Ascorbic acid.
    Any suggestions, please?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Braveheart:  Dr. Straetmann's UK-based distributor info is below.  They have some nice options for "green" preservatives.  Also, Schulke & Mayr will have a UK distributor.

    Infinity Ingredients Ltd.
    Arc House
    Terrace Road South
    Binfield, Berkshire
    RG42 4 PZ
    Great Britain
    www.infinity-ingredients.co.uk

    Mr. Andrew Goodwin
    T +44 1344 397 768
    andrew.goodwin@infinity-ingredients.co.uk
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thanks for that, much appreciated.
    I just saw Vegicide at Ingredientstodiefor and instantly loved it.
    But I will contact this company.
  • I have two questions. I was checking up on some "green" preservatives and found this - 
    Plantaserve S Natural (Suprapein). The constituents are:
    extracts of Oregano leaf extract, Thyme extract, Cinnamon bark extract, rosemary leaf extract, Lavender Flower extract, Lemon peel extract, peppermint leaf extract, Golden Seal Root extract and Olive leaf extract.

    Solubility: It is soluble in oil..... 
    Recommended percentage of use: 0.5%

    Using this preservative means one can claim - 100% natural, isn't it?
    But then has Plantaserve S Natural been proved to be an effective broad spectrum?

    Reason behind Question: Bad press and public perception has really damaged the integrity of parabens, so for someone like me (more of a marketer) to look for "green" preservatives.
  • I believe that might work about as much as I believe in Santa Claus.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited December 2014
    Regardless since "natural" has no legal definition, I think the claim "100% natural" is a marketing term, not one for Cosmetic Scientists.

    In the end the only way to assess efficacy is to use the product properly and then perform micro testing.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • Yup... Agreed ...
  • Granted, every oil is actually a synthesis off a plant. But, again for marketing purposes; Are ingredients such as Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lactate and Potassium Sorbate classified as "natural" in the same vein as coconut oil?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @braveheart:

    If you want to formulate using "Natural" ... familiarize yourself with ECOCert.  The quick answer to your questions is ... "Yes" ... Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate are ECOCert approved ingredients.  

    For a review of ECOCert approved preservatives, read www.makingskincare.com/preservatives/ ... go down to the very bottom where she has a list of ECOCert approved preservatives.  FYI, the entire post is well worth reading.

    There are more that are not on the list as this is an area ripe with new product development, but it's a great start.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • braveheartbraveheart Member
    edited January 2015

    I did read through the suggested website (rich info), I guess I may have missed that bit of information. Perhaps, I should read it again. I have been able to acquire a list of ECOCert approved ingredients.
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