Natural preservatives, the Democles sword of cosmetic science.

So, 
In recent past I have tried numerous ''natural'' preservation system ranging from Geogard 221, Biopein, Neopein, Suorapein (from BioBotanica), grapefruit seed extract, Leucidal, Silverion etc. I never had any accomplishment with these as phenoxyethanol proved to be superior to any of before mentioned supstances. 

Has anyone tried Geogard Ultra? 

What do you think about natural preservatives? Is there any that can reliably be used for vast application and are they really worth the trouble and extra money, mostly?

Have you had any success with using any, if so, can you describe it? What do you think is the future of using preservatives in cosmetics, as this topic tend to be mentioned more and more? 

Comments

  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Some are allegedly natural - some are clearly not incl. GSE, Silverion, Geogards 221 and ultra.  Further GSE is a fraud and Leucidal has similarly been reported to include synthetic disinfectant actives.  
    The future of their use -  many will to continue  happily to buy into and repeat the credentialed "natural" lie for synthetic systems.  Those pursuing systems arguable natural (without the disingenuous quotes) will continue to risk consumers safety with weak systems of inconsistent chemical composition.

    The future of cosmetic preservatives? See https://www.teknoscienze.com/tks_article/panel-discussion-on-preservatives-in-cosmetics/
    The larger question is the microbiological safety of cosmetics
  • I always thought that there can't be a good cosmetic product without preservatives. Even amongst my colleagues (pharmacist, physicians, etc.) there are some (presumably more as we progress further in developing cosmetic science, ironically) who think that preservatives are just bad and should always be awoided. Heck, I just think that the general public isn't being informed well about the use and principle of preservation, hence the problem of miss judging.
    I can't seem to open the paper (I see it's your personal aswell) so can you please provide me with some other link so I can read it? I am really interested. 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    You can register - think the journal free
  • Will try again later, might be the connection was poor earlier. 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    I'll send text if you can't get in
  • If you don't mind that would be perfect. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Svemirska_baklava:

    With the exception of the Geogard products mentioned above, both of which are ECOCert and/or NPA approved, none of the others are effective as preservatives. 

    When you use the term "Natural" what you must understand is that these preservatives are approved for use in products that fit into the standards of Natural Products as defined by ECOCert, NPA, Soil Association, etc.  However, as @PhilGeis pointed out, Georgard 221 and Geogard Ultra are made with ingredients that are manufactured synthetically, but may be "nature identical" meaning they are found in nature, but it would be prohibitively expensive to try to extract, isolate and purify these compounds from biomass, so they are manufactured via chemical synthesis.  In that context, the term Natural is more defintional than it is absolute.

    So, what you are really looking for are not Natural preservatives per se, but preservative ingredients that are approved for use in products defined as Natural by the various standards bodies or a particular standards body.

    A preservation system is absolutely essential in a personal care product.  Note, I said preservation system that incorporates preservatives, chelating agents, pH adjustment, preservative boosters, etc., not just the simple addition of a preservative ingredient.

    For instance, the combination of Geogard 221 + Geogard Ultra in a product formulated at pH = 4.8 + a chelating agent (Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate (GLDA)) + Pentylene Glycol ... this would be considered a Natural standards compliant preservation system 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    None of them are that good, and that some org takes it upon itself to redefine "natural" does not change the fact that these are synthetic.   "Approved" merely gives license to mislead.
  • I have been trying a new (for me) preservation system for products that contain high levels of water (85-90% or so).

    Geogard Ultra + Sodium Citrate + Phenoxyethanol + EDTA, pH 4.8-5.2  

    I will be getting some stability testing done, just wondering if some of you feel I am going down a bad path?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Cafe33

    This looks fine
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited September 2021

    Geogard Ultra + Sodium Citrate + Phenoxyethanol + EDTA, pH 4.8-5.2  

    What is the product and what are in-product levels of preservative components??
    Suggest you drop Geogard and use Na benzoate.  Geogard ultra is an overpriced combination that you don't need - With EDTA gluconolactone is a waste. 

    Na citrate also serves no purpose.

    In any case, please use ISO 11930 (criteria) rather than USP 51.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Geogard Ultra often exhibits a downward pH drift, which is probably why the Sodium Citrate is included in this combination.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited September 2021
    Agree Mark - and pH should be a specification to serve efficacy that can be achieved more more cheaply.

    @Cafe33 - assume your not claiming that combination as "natural."
  • Has anyone tried any of the Euxyl brand preservatives? Im using Euxyl k903 which has a combination of 
    • Benzyl Alcohol            78.0 - 84.0%
    • Benzoic Acid              11.0 - 13.0%
    • Dehydroacetic Acid     6.5 -   7.5%
    Trying to keep my products on the more natural side, but want to have a good broad-spectrum preservatice system. Ill be making a line of products from shampoo and conditioners to hair products like clays, pomades, grooming creams and hairsprays
    Thanks!

    Brett
  • Has anyone tried any of the Euxyl brand preservatives? Im using Euxyl k903 which has a combination of 
    • Benzyl Alcohol            78.0 - 84.0%
    • Benzoic Acid              11.0 - 13.0%
    • Dehydroacetic Acid     6.5 -   7.5%
    Trying to keep my products on the more natural side, but want to have a good broad-spectrum preservatice system. Ill be making a line of products from shampoo and conditioners to hair products like clays, pomades, grooming creams and hairsprays
    I would use phenoxyethanol instead of benzyl alcohol.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Those can work in challenge but 2 organic acids have little technical support.  As you noted, benzoate/benzoic pKA is facilitated with some surfactants.

    The combination is not that great in use so packaging has to considered.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Sorry for hijacking this thread but I think the titel is so compelling that this option seems better than starting a new one.

    A sales rep from Bayer dropped by yesterdy with the new Bepanthen/Bepanthol DERMA line... preservative free as they claim... glycerol and 1,2-hexanediol were in there as humectants/emollients, not preservatives, they say. Anyway, there's nothing else in that line which would preserve anything. And it doesn't look (though I don't know) like they were using airless systems either.
    Here's a copy-paste of the LOI of one of those products (the others are nearly identical in composition):
    Bepanthol® DERMA Regenerierende Körperlotion: Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Panthenol, Squalane, Isopropyl Isostearate, Isosorbide Dicaprylate, Niacinamide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Behenyl Alcohol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Citric Acid.

    I have a hard time believing that Bayer would put an 'unsafe' product on the market but I also have a hard time believing that these products are properly preserved. What do you think (reaching out to @PhilGeis)?
  • So, 
    In recent past I have tried numerous ''natural'' preservation system ranging from Geogard 221, Biopein, Neopein, Suorapein (from BioBotanica), grapefruit seed extract, Leucidal, Silverion etc. I never had any accomplishment with these as phenoxyethanol proved to be superior to any of before mentioned supstances. 

    Has anyone tried Geogard Ultra? 

    What do you think about natural preservatives? Is there any that can reliably be used for vast application and are they really worth the trouble and extra money, mostly?

    Have you had any success with using any, if so, can you describe it? What do you think is the future of using preservatives in cosmetics, as this topic tend to be mentioned more and more? 

    Dr, Hauschka and Weleda, as examples, rely partially on using decent amounts of ethanol plus essential oil components like geraniol.  Cosphaderm also has a number of natural preservatives for you to look at, as well, such as magnolia extract.  Whether it is worth the trouble or expense to you is something that you would have to consider.  
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    @ Pharma -thanks,  think the "preservative -free" marketing hype shows Bayer in this case is unethical.  As you point out, it's just hexanediol - a synthetic compound that finds common use as a preservative.


  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    "Natural" (emphasis on the quotation marks) preservatives are often neither natural nor effective preservatives.  It is surprising that so many ethical folks are happy to accept the Ecocert/COSMOS head fake and supplier BS for the natural claim. In my mind - the equivalent - "made in USA" for a China-sourced material that also happens to be made in US.

    Some of these are frauds - grapefruit seed extract and allegedly Leucidal.

    Extracts, essential oils, eye of newt, etc. are weak, vary profoundly batch to batch (typically without any idea as to the active component(s), can include pesticides,  UN observed their production in 3rd world can disrup subsistence agriculture and worse https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1022-aromatherapy-bacteria.html.

    Most here likely use USP 51, a test that poorly represents the micro risk - it's validated to nothing.

    It's certainly possible to effectively preserve a product with a natural (without quotation marks) preservative system.  Most attempting that will not know what's in the natural material and will never know if they were actually successful in protecting the user.

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    PhilGeis said:
    @ Pharma -thanks,  think the "preservative -free" marketing hype shows Bayer in this case is unethical.  As you point out, it's just hexanediol - a synthetic compound that finds common use as a preservative.
    Just as an update (better late than never): Astonishingly, my inquiry had Bayer to have a meeting... The tech person called me back and said that their layers are sure that they are in accordance with European cosmetics regulations because 1,2-hexanediol isn't in the preservative annexe and that they will get away with it being a skin conditioning ingredient, no matter whether or not the product would be contamination free without it. They also think it's absolutely okay to communicate 'preservation free' to retailers and putting this in the brochure (which, they say, is meant for retailers but 'Why don't you let some here with the products and feel free to give it to interested customers, just order more if you need more') as long as it's not mentioned in TV adds and on the packaging.
    I have the impression that they see themselves on the winning side because they just know how to layer up better than anyone who might sue (or rather, they know that nobody is willing to pay money for a lawsuit wherewith no money can be made).
    Does anyone here have a more in depths knowledge of EU legal rules in this regard?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Pharma

    The EU regulations contain the list of ingredients, percentages, restrictions, etc. of ingredients classified as preservatives that may be used in personal care cosmetic products.  But, it does not specify that any preservative ingredient on the list must be used in personal care cosmetic products. 

    Bayer clearly wanted to market a "preservative-free" product and found ingredients not on the preservative annex that yielded acceptable preservation results to pass the safety assessment and get the products on the market.  It would appear that they are relying on 1,2-Hexanediol, low pH (Citric Acid) and perhaps airless packaging to achieve this.  The odd thing to me is if they cannot use "Preservative Free" claims in their advertising and packaging, what is the benefit?

    Presumably, their market research indicated a decent market demand for a product line that did not contain any of the preservatives on the annex.


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

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    It appears that Bayer's Bepanthen/Bepanthol Derma line is targeted to consumers who have sensitive, irritated skin.  Note that they do use Phenoxyethanol in some of the products in the line.  Generally, people with sensitive skin have a difficult time tolerating products containing traditional preservatives, but Phenoxyethanol is usually the best tolerated of the available options. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    @Pharma

    The EU regulations contain the list of ingredients, percentages, restrictions, etc. of ingredients classified as preservatives that may be used in personal care cosmetic products.  But, it does not specify that any preservative ingredient on the list must be used in personal care cosmetic products. 

    Bayer clearly wanted to market a "preservative-free" product and found ingredients not on the preservative annex that yielded acceptable preservation results to pass the safety assessment and get the products on the market.  It would appear that they are relying on 1,2-Hexanediol, low pH (Citric Acid) and perhaps airless packaging to achieve this.  The odd thing to me is if they cannot use "Preservative Free" claims in their advertising and packaging, what is the benefit?

    Presumably, their market research indicated a decent market demand for a product line that did not contain any of the preservatives on the annex.


    The directive prohibits use of preservatives not on the list.   Largely drive by SCCS consideration, there is a pathway to add new stuff. 
    Citric acid may adjust pH but is unlikely to offer preservative effect , and I'd not give them the benefit of a doubt for airless. Think Pharma observed they do use free claim but caution others - are they selling the formula for others to package and sell under their brand?
    Assume marketing drives the claim with Bayers cynical decision that they'll not be  challenged - with "emollient" BS but wonder at response to "what's the preservative then" the "expert" premarket approver might offer.
    To my perspective, it's no different than using Ecocert cover for "natural" claim re. synthetic chemical ingredients.   Enforcement is very unlikely, others are doing it and I have a good story for cover.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    It appears that the products are marketed under the Bepanthen/Bepanthenol brand names directly by Bayer targeted at ROW markets for sensitive skin and infants.  Some of the products are OTC.  From what I can tell, most of the products contain Phenoxyethanol.  This one product may be an exception to the use of Phenoxyethanol.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Pharma said:
    PhilGeis said:
    @ Pharma -thanks,  think the "preservative -free" marketing hype shows Bayer in this case is unethical.  As you point out, it's just hexanediol - a synthetic compound that finds common use as a preservative.
    Just as an update (better late than never): Astonishingly, my inquiry had Bayer to have a meeting... The tech person called me back and said that their layers are sure that they are in accordance with European cosmetics regulations because 1,2-hexanediol isn't in the preservative annexe and that they will get away with it being a skin conditioning ingredient, no matter whether or not the product would be contamination free without it. They also think it's absolutely okay to communicate 'preservation free' to retailers and putting this in the brochure (which, they say, is meant for retailers but 'Why don't you let some here with the products and feel free to give it to interested customers, just order more if you need more') as long as it's not mentioned in TV adds and on the packaging.
    I have the impression that they see themselves on the winning side because they just know how to layer up better than anyone who might sue (or rather, they know that nobody is willing to pay money for a lawsuit wherewith no money can be made).
    Does anyone here have a more in depths knowledge of EU legal rules in this regard?
    The issue is described in Annex III: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/24847

    The claim 'free from preservatives' should not be used when a product contains (an) ingredient(s) showing a protective effect against microorganisms, which are not included in Annex V of Regulation 1223/2009, e. g. alcohol. If the responsible person has evidence that the particular ingredient or the combination of such ingredients does not contribute to the product protection, it might be appropriate to use the claim (e.g. challenge test results of the formula without the particular ingredient).

    Claims are controlled by the trade inspection of a given country, so if a product with such claims is not sold in a registered store (stationary or online), I don't see the possibility of checking such a product

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Thank you! That was exactly the document which I thought I've seen but couldn't find again. I failed to notice then that it's not a legally binding document but a 'best practice recommendation'...
    I'll check again what Swiss authorities have to say in this regard. From experience I'd say they will follow the bare bones EU legislation (Swiss VKos is basically that plus a very few exceptions and references to other legal works) which leave ample room for interpretation.
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