Preservatives For Personal Care

What are Preservatives?

A preservative is a natural or synthetic ingredient that is added to foods, pharmaceuticals and personal care products to prevent spoilage, whether from microbial growth or undesirable chemical changes. Typical formulations for personal care products include preservatives that prevent mold, fungus, and microbes from growing and may address oxidation issues.

Why are Preservatives used in personal care products?

The use of preservatives is essential in most personal care products to prevent product damage caused by microorganisms and to protect the product from inadvertent contamination by the consumer during use. An ingredient that protects the product from the growth of microorganisms is called an antimicrobial. A preservative may also be added to a product to protect it against damage and degradation caused by exposure to oxygen, and in this instance, these ingredients are called antioxidants. Anti-fungals prevent the growth of mold and fungi. Without preservatives, personal care products, just like food, can become contaminated, leading to product spoilage and possibly application site irritation or infection. Microbial contamination of products, especially those used around the eyes and on the skin, can cause significant problems. Preservatives help prevent these issues.

Cosmetic and beauty products are made up of ingredients that are biodegradable, and this means that microbes can easily break them down causing both aesthetic and safety issues. Antimicrobials are preservatives added to product formulations to maintain the microbiological safety of the product by inhibiting the growth of and reducing the amount of microbial contaminants.

Preservative ingredients can be used at relatively low levels to ensure that the product performs effectively over the life of the material without negatively impacting performance. Without preservatives, personal care products could become contaminated with microorganisms or degrade from the adverse effects of oxygen.

Why choose HRI as a Preservative Partner?

Today’s consumers are looking for safer, but equally effective alternatives to more hazardous preservatives like formaldehyde donors and parabens. Hampford Research manufactures a line of preservatives under the BarGuard® trade name which are 100% active, broad spectrum formulations for use in cosmetics and personal care products. Their unique, paraben and formaldehyde free formulation makes them ideal for both leave-on as well as rinse-off applications. BarGuard® preservatives maintain their efficacy over a wide pH range (4-10) as well as in more challenging applications such as sunscreens and protective lotions.