Sugar body scrub

Hi everybody, 

I am working on a body scrub and I am wondering if phenoxy/EHG is enough for a body scrub? 

I have looked into some body scrubs formulations and for example sephora sells one with no preservative at all, is that allowed?

Thanks in advance.


  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    @mariamu96 Those scrubs are anhydrous or close enough to it. Glycerin is usually the main diluent so no preservation needed, although I advise an antifungal to retard mold. Not critical but advised.
  • @chemicalmatt thanks for replying. I read that glycerine can be used as preservative if used in a high quantity but in the sephora scrubs is not as clear…
    On the other hand, I see that Sephora has a strict formulation policy. Not the best site for starters to look into. 
  • The way glycerin works as preservative (I hate saying that like this) is that it lowers available water in the product.
    So if used in high inputs (40%) it can "hold" all the available water so there is not enough for microorganism. 

    The "need" of antifungal is because fungi do not require that much water to grow compared to bacteria. 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited November 16
    If you're relying on glycerine to lower Aw - water activity - you should measure it to be confident it is low enough.  As Paprik said , 40% glycerine will generally cover bacterial risk.  To meet ISO and industry limits eliminating additional preservative - you'd need ~60% glycerine tho' sugar might help effectively lowering Aw.  Also be aware some products take up moisture in humid (esp. bathroom) environments.
    Sephora is a retailer. Don't look to those guys for your micro risk assessments.
  • Thanks for the info I am learning a lot here. I have made the scrub just with sugar, butters, oils and btms (no water content) and I have added phenoxy/ EHG. 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited November 17
    Think you need something for fungi.  Phenoxy/EHG prob not necessary
  • mariamu96mariamu96 Member
    edited November 17
    It makes totally sense to me to add a preservative to  an anhydrous scrub if there is chance water gets in i, but at the same time I was not sure antifungals were going to work since they are too acidic pH dependant and the pH of the shower is neutral. 

    On the other hand I read somewhere Spielberg saying that over-preservation is a current problem in cosmetic formulation. I guess everybody tries to play it safe, but what’s so bad about over-preservation?  It’s because microbes might develop resistances or a health issue for consumers?
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited November 17
    pH of shower?
  • what I meant to say it´s if there is a chance of water contamination, but the pH of the water in the shower is  neutral. Why would an antifungal work if they are too pH acidic dependent... It's something that I don't fully understand.

    I am sorry for not explaining myself better, I was also talking about David C. Steinberg, but I just remembered his last name as Spielberg.

  • Just because fungi like more acidic environment, that doesn't mean that opportunistic ones won't thrive in more neutral environment. 
    Same for bacteria - recent recall of products of pH 10 (if I remember correctly).

    Same as for water - for example - Jar of jam. Sitting in your fridge, full of sugar, little to no available water, but every now and then a mold appears. 
    So if you dip into the product with wet hands, you introduce a little bit of water, exposure to air, ... Over time the build up can cause a problem. 

    You need to protect the product in the jar, not diluted product on your body/in the shower during use. 
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    if anything, under-preservation is more of a problem than over-preservation
    put it this way: if you constantly feed someone a subtle poison, they'll eventually get used to it, but if you blow their head off with a shotgun, they'll never get the opportunity to do so
    UK based cosmetic chemist with 13 years' experience at the bench. I've worked with pretty much everything apart from pressed powders, soap, solid lipstick and aerosols.
  • I am not an expert on this, but over-preserving is also not great. 

    I imagine as it is killing living organism and there's a lot of "excess" of preservative, it can potentially interfere with your skin microbiome? [Leave on product]
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    Paprik said:
    I am not an expert on this, but over-preserving is also not great. 

    I imagine as it is killing living organism and there's a lot of "excess" of preservative, it can potentially interfere with your skin microbiome? [Leave on product]

    Most references warn against over-preservation in regards to developing resistance to our available preservatives—that simple. 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.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited November 18
    I doubt that Dave Steinberg sees "over preservation" as a concern.   Dave's biggest concern has to do with loss of conventional preservatives.
    Even if established, it would not be expected to provoke resistance - that would more likely derive from under preservation.   If anything, the problem with preservation is under preservation - esp. with the "natural" hyped stuff.  

    Preservatives will not help with water splashed from shower - whatever its pH.  Addition of an antifungal may help with surface growth on humidified product.
  • thank you all!
  • You need emulsified sugar scrub that becomes creamy lotion upon contacting the water on your body. The creamy lotion moisturize and sugar exfoliate. It leaves no oil residue 
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