Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Question About Aveeno's Preservative System


  • Question About Aveeno's Preservative System

    Posted by Camel on April 24, 2024 at 11:46 am

    I am curious to know how Aveeno is able to use such a minimal preservative system in some of their products. I am sure a company as large as they are has done all the necessary testing to determine its efficacy, but based on what I have learned from this forum, their system is is very minimal.

    Here is an example INCI for their Calm + Restore Gel Moisturizer:
    Water, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Vegetable Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sodium Hydroxide, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol.

    Phenoxyethanol appears to be the only preservative they are using, despite the “bug food” content (oat/aloe). They don’t appear to be using a chelating agent either.

    Another example INCI for their Baby Daily Moisture Cream:
    Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride

    With this one, I am assuming the distearyldimonium chloride is serving a dual-purpose as the emulsifier and possibly preservative, but I don’t really understand how this can be enough.

    I would love to hear your thoughts, especially @PhilGeis , thank you!

    Abdullah replied 3 weeks, 1 day ago 5 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • evchem2

    April 25, 2024 at 8:13 am

    I’m no preservation expert, but both products also have the multifunctional caprylyl glycol which should help with preservation somewhat. Also I seriously doubt the aloe/oat content is significant in either product, and the raw materials may be held to strict specifications on incoming micro count. There are also preservatives that can fall under the “fragrance” INCI like p-anisic acid in the moisture cream.

    • Camel

      April 25, 2024 at 4:24 pm

      @evchem2 Thank you for the response! Yes, you are likely right that they contain minimal amounts of oat and aloe. However, some of their products do contain 2% colloidal oat, although as Perry mentioned, these are produced in an OTC factory, so it’s going to be much cleaner than your standard production.

  • PhilGeis

    April 25, 2024 at 9:19 am

    As ev noted, both have cap glycol and also include a lot of glycerine, maybe counting to some extent on Aw. What is packaging?

    • Camel

      April 25, 2024 at 4:29 pm

      @PhilGeis Thank you for responding! These products are packaged in pump bottles, but as Perry noted, the baby cream is actually an OTC dimethicone skin protectant. The gel-cream is not. How much glycerin would you speculate they are including/would generally need to be included to have a significant impact on Aw? I would imagine a high amount would lead to a sticky feeling, but the gel-cream has a rather pleasant skin-feel.

      • Abdullah

        April 26, 2024 at 6:53 am

        They have 12% glycerin.

        • PhilGeis

          April 26, 2024 at 8:14 am

          how much water?

          • Abdullah

            April 26, 2024 at 10:58 am

            I saw a patent and It had 12% glycerin and ~25% water in that cationic emulsion.

            • PhilGeis

              April 26, 2024 at 12:37 pm

              nominal 37% - an Aw prob. <0.9.

              Does pantent mention preservation?

              • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  PhilGeis.
            • Abdullah

              April 26, 2024 at 8:45 pm

              Sorry, my mistake. I wrote it the other way around. It is 71% water and 29% total solids. 12% glycerin, 4% emulsifier and only 0.6% benzyl alcohol was included as preservative in example formulas

              • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  Abdullah.
  • Perry44

    April 25, 2024 at 11:06 am

    I agree that the Glycols are helping.

    And with the Baby Daily Moisture cream, they also list 1.2% Dimethicone as the active ingredient. This is actually an OTC drug product ( https://www.aveeno.com/products/daily-moisture-baby-cream ) My guess is that it has a low enough water content that Water Activity is also helping with preservation. Also, it is in a pump which helps and produced in an OTC factory which is going to be cleaner than your typical Cosmetic manufacturing facility.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  Perry44.
    • Camel

      April 25, 2024 at 4:32 pm

      @Perry44 You’re right that the baby cream is an OTC which has much stricter standards. I must have missed that as I was quickly scanning through the ingredient lists of several products! Thank you for your response.

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