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Preservatives Used in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

SpecialChem / Nick Morante – Oct 3, 2006

Preserving a cosmetic product is one of the most important responsibilities of a cosmetic formulator. It is sometimes difficult and often very frustrating. The right combination and levels of preservative are not always easy to determine especially when using new and exotic ingredients to make the required product claims. There are certain preservatines that the cosmetic formulator has in his arsenal that are standard in the industry and often work very well at the prescribed percentages. But this is not always the case. For instance, we use parabens, which are various salts of para amino benzoic acid. These are used independently or in the form of preservative cocktails, which are easier to solubilize in various systems. We can also use urea compounds or salts of sorbic acid or acetic acid. There are also glycols which inhibit the growth of microorganisms, or straight alcohols (ethanol and isopropanol), which at a high enough levels, will not allow the growth of any microbes. They are excellent disinfectants.

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