If I say the word preservatives what comes to mind?

Do you immediately think nope, no, bad, stay away? Preservatives and chemicals in a negative light are very trendy right now. There’s a false belief that everything that is natural is good and vice versa. There’s a massive drive in the interest of organic and natural skincare and cosmetics. Small companies are almost being bullied into providing preservative-free skincare. And it’s not turning out well. According to some folks, preservatives are not necessary and can be even very harmful. Others say they are not only necessary but beneficial.

Who do you believe? What should you as a consumer do? You can educate yourself on what a preservative is and understand that even natural products should be safe and include a preservative! Many chemical and natural preservatives are safe. Please don’t think of preservatives in your skincare as your enemy. We have to change our way of thinking a little. You purchase your skincare with the confidence that it will last you thirty days or more. This stable shelf-life is achieved with…you guessed it, preservatives! Otherwise, the active ingredients in your skin care will become inactive, and the product may go bad. Skincare is like food for your skin so naturally preservatives are needed and pretty common.

We are surrounded by bugs! First off, by bugs I mean microorganisms. You can’t see them. They’re microscopic. Every single surface around you, your whole body, and the air is filled with microorganisms. There are three main types : yeast, bacteria, and fungus (mold). Microorganisms tend to multiply VERY fast. Often exponentially. They spread if unstopped. They love moisture and heat. This is why you are always told to keep products in a cool, dry place (and away from sunlight).

Antioxidants are amazing for protecting against free radical damage, but they’re simply not preservatives. Don’t let all-natural labels tell you otherwise. Don’t think protecting against oxidation, think antioxidants are more concerned with free radical damage than bacteria formation. A lot of times vitamins, like Vitamin C, are falsely advertised as a natural preservative. Don’t get rid of antioxidants, they are important in your skincare, they just don’t preserve your skincare or extend the shelf-life.

Of course there are some preservatives you want to avoid.

  • Benzyl Alcohol - commonly known to irritate sensitive skin and disrupt hormones. Benzyl Alcohol is popularly used as a fragrance or preserving agent.

  • You want to avoid parabens - Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic and body care products since the 1920s. The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation.

  • Diazolidinyl Urea - It works as a preservative by releasing formaldehyde, which is a form of contamination all on its own.


Key Elements Sanbe is taking in Preserving your Skincare

  1. Good Manufacturing Practice - This includes keeping the work area neat and clean. Making safety a priority. Storing products in a safe environment.

  2. Shelf Life - This means you set a realistic shelf life for your product. Did you know products that have the shortest shelf life after opening are those that contain water?!?

  3. Packaging - At the forefront of our minds is making sure we are meticulously safe and secure in storing Sanbe products. It’s not just being on the lookout for a cool bottle or jar, there’s so much that goes into the packaging decision. What ingredients are inside the skincare and will it interact with the packaging? How best can we keep oxygen out? So many things to do to help prolong the product’s shelf life.

  4. Self-Preserving Ingredients - Did you know they found jars of honey in tombs in Egypt that were perfectly preserved? It’s because no microorganism can grow in it. Adding ingredients that are self-preserving is a great way to keep the bad stuff out and make it last longer.

  5. pH - Ever wonder why we post the pH in the descriptions of many of our products? Microorganisms have a favorable pH range at which they start to grow. It’s important to keep your pH around 4 - 6.5, it’s not only great for your skin’s pH but great at extinguishing certain amounts of growth.

  6. Preservatives - The star of the show! “The risk of using preservatives is significantly lower than that of using unpreserved water-based cosmetics.” Our current preservatives are: Propanediol functions in many forms, such as solvent, humectant, emollient and viscosity reducer in a variety of skincare products. Also, propanediol has promising potential to be a safer ingredient than propylene glycol. It also makes your skin clean, soft, smooth and naturally glowing. Ethylhexylglycerin is a multifunctional cosmetic ingredient used as an active component in deodorants, as an emollient and humectant in skin care, and boosting the anti-microbial performance of other ingredients to protect products from spoilage. Potassium sorbate is a salt of sorbic acid which is naturally found in some fruits (like the berries of mountain ash). The commercial ingredient is synthetically produced creating what is termed a “nature identical” chemical (chemically equivalent to the molecule found in nature). Leuconostoc is a genus of gram-positive bacteria, placed within the family of Leuconostocaceae. They are generally ovoid cocci often forming chains. Leuconostoc spp. are intrinsically resistant to vancomycin and are catalase-negative (which distinguishes them from staphylococci).


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