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Preservatives - Your opinions

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FerrisWheel

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How many of you guys use a preservative(s) in your products that are 100% oil/butter based?

I have made a few now and I am starting to think that realistically they are needed.

No one can ensure a product is 100% microbe free further more all it takes is a sneeze, cough, humid atmosphere, wet/sweaty hands, etc ONCE when using your product and you have a nice petri dish of nasties.

My issue is how do people go about dealing with making a natural product vs. a safe one?

I have seen many natural, preservative free products on the market that advertise they work best on wet skin after a bath or shower! Surely this is gonna result in water getting in the pot eventually and lead to bad things.

Thoughts? Advice? Pointers?

Interested from both sides of the fence- for and against.

Thanks,

Ferris.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Personally, I think anyone selling a natural product like that is dangerous, either from lack of thought or from outright dishonesty.

1% of a product being a preservative, then looking at how much of the product is observed by our skin.........my view is that I would rather smear that on me than a handful of natural mould and so on.
 

shunt2011

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I agree with the others. Not adding a preservative is not an option to me. I would rather be safe. I would hate to cause someone an infection though it's not likely. Not worth the risk.

If you scroll to the bottom of this post you will see other threads on this topic. It has been discusses numerous times for sure.
 

FerrisWheel

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Thanks for the replies so far guys.

Just take a look around the natural skincare sections of websites - particularly body butters/moisturizing products lots of them use the "no preservatives" as a unique selling point.

I suffered BADLY from infected eczema a few years back and so worry if my product was used on some very dry skin it might cause someone to go through that misery.

Natural product makers - what is your approach? How have your customers reacted to the use of preservatives? The natural beauty world has done a brilliant job of vilifying such chemicals.
 

shunt2011

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The sad part is many likely use preservative and just don't list them. Which in turn is very deceptive. Just like those who hawk their products as all natural and use FO's and Micas for colorants.
 

cmzaha

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I have to admit I do not preserve my oil/butter based balms but have them clearly labeled to not introduce water in the products and do not freeze the product. I do however preserve liquid soap, shaving soap, cream soap, and of course emulsified lotions. People here would not buy a lip balm with preservative. I also have severe eczema, use my balms regularly on the dry cracked areas without ever having a problem. I do sell mine with a little plastic spatula and recommend cleaning the spatula with alcohol between uses
 

Dahila

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I do not sale but can not imagine having anything not preserved. I usually use Germal liquid plus, Phononip , Tinosan the last one only in dark container it is sensitive to light
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Thanks for the replies so far guys.

Just take a look around the natural skincare sections of websites - particularly body butters/moisturizing products lots of them use the "no preservatives" as a unique selling point.

I suffered BADLY from infected eczema a few years back and so worry if my product was used on some very dry skin it might cause someone to go through that misery.

Natural product makers - what is your approach? How have your customers reacted to the use of preservatives? The natural beauty world has done a brilliant job of vilifying such chemicals.

You sound like you're selling or looking to do so straight away, so you have to face the options as they stand -

use preservative but pretend that you don't

Don't use it and tell people to use the product in a short time period and keep it in the fridge

Use preservative and explain to any one who questions it why it can be actually healthier than not using it

Option one is unethical at best. Option two runs you the risk of being sued by someone who waited too long/didn't store properly and gets a load of e.coli in the eye! I would go with option three and let the customer choose based on good information
 

Dorymae

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When you sell you need to think further than what did I put into the product and think about how could someone possibly use this product. If the answer involves having the product near water where it could become contaminated always use a preservative.
 

BeeMaiden

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I am interested in your definition of preservative. I put vitamin e in all my lip balms and lotion bars. Coconut oil also has natural antibacterial properties. Also various essential oils are anti bacterial. If something has no water in it, will it still go bad?
I chose not to make liquid lotion because the stuff I made with a friend molded
 

Trix

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BeeMaiden, vitamin E is an anti-oxidant not a preservative. It is good in that things like lip balms are extremely close to the nose and once they oxidise we will notice quite fast that foul smell.

Vitamin e delays that,but if there is water in the formula, only a preservative will avoid it.
Scientists would never put anything like a preservative in a product, unless they need it....and lotions needed. I think the 'preservative free' campaign and fear lingering of preservatives is kind of irresponsible.

You are doing the right thing by researching first before making your own decision so good for you :)
 

IrishLass

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Like Carol, I don't use any preservatives in my anhydrous (butter/oil-only) body butters either. I don't sell, btw. I make them for my own personal use and for a few trustworthy family members, and we treat them with the utmost respect, i.e., never dipping fingers- be they wet or dry- into the body butter, ever., etc... We use a cleaned cosmetic spatula each time. For what it's worth, like Carol, we've never had any bad issues develop with it.

I do preserve my lotions and emulsified butters, though. I use a synergistic combo of phenonip and tetrasodium EDTA for those.

If I ever decided to sell, though, I do believe I'd use preservatives in my anhydrous butters just in case.

Beemaiden, when we talk of preservatives, we mean those that actively kill nasties that want to attack a formula- yeasts, molds, bacteria, etc.. Vitamin E is not a preservative, but an antioxidant. It basically helps oils stay fresher, but it won't actively kill nasties in a water-based formula. Neither will coconut oil either. It might have enough anti-bacterial potency in it to keep itself fresh for a time, but it's not going to actively kill the nasties that want to attack a water-based as a whole. The same with essential oils. They may help to a certain extent with some things, but they are not strong enough to actively kill the kind of nasties that want to invade a water-based formula. They would be overwhelmed.


IrishLass :)
 

FerrisWheel

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I am interested in your definition of preservative. I put vitamin e in all my lip balms and lotion bars. Coconut oil also has natural antibacterial properties. Also various essential oils are anti bacterial. If something has no water in it, will it still go bad?
I chose not to make liquid lotion because the stuff I made with a friend molded ��
My definition of a preservative is an anti-microbial additive such as the dreaded parabens/formaldehydes that have been presented as the devils juice by the media/natural community.

Vitamin E is not anti-microbial nor are things such as Coconut Oil enough to protect from various nasties growing on/in them.

I am again thankful for everyones response so far.

It looks like I will go down the preservative route. But do worry about the impact it will have on sales. As others have said already- people won't touch stuff sometimes just because they hear preservatives.

I simply cannot guarantee that people won't use the oils in less than ideal conditions. I also cannot blame them for that really. I want my product to be safe.
 

cmzaha

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I do sell so I make sure it is stated clearly to keep from introducing water into the product. I do not recommend refrigeration or freezing since it can introduce moisture into the product. All precautions are taken with labeling. We do need to learn to take some responsibility as customers to follow instructions. I use preservative free eye drops in individual vials, but I could get more than one use. In my opinion if I decide to keep the opened vial and use it another day I accept the responsibility it is was labeled single use only. If I get an eye infection from reusing the vial that is my fault not the manufacturer.
 

DeeAnna

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"...Vitamin E is not a preservative.... Neither will coconut oil either.... The same with essential oils. They may help to a certain extent with some things, but they are not strong enough to actively kill the kind of nasties that want to invade a water-based formula...."

And ditto for honey. Honey is SELF preserving if it is properly cured to a safe sugar content. Once you add anything to dilute the honey, including plain water, then honey will support microbial cooties as happily as any other sugary syrup. If that weren't true, my DH wouldn't be able to make mead!
 

KristaY

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It looks like I will go down the preservative route. But do worry about the impact it will have on sales. As others have said already- people won't touch stuff sometimes just because they hear preservatives.

I simply cannot guarantee that people won't use the oils in less than ideal conditions. I also cannot blame them for that really. I want my product to be safe.
My best recommendation is to have an answer ready for people that question your use of preservative. Explain what you use and why it's needed. Something like "it's formaldehyde, paraben and phthalate free and I use it at less than 1%. Anytime you mix oils and water together it will grow germs so must be preserved for your safety" or whatever. Usually when people get clear, concise info given in a confident manner, they're okay with the product.
 

FerrisWheel

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My best recommendation is to have an answer ready for people that question your use of preservative. Explain what you use and why it's needed. Something like "it's formaldehyde, paraben and phthalate free and I use it at less than 1%. Anytime you mix oils and water together it will grow germs so must be preserved for your safety" or whatever. Usually when people get clear, concise info given in a confident manner, they're okay with the product.
Thanks for all your help.

It will be taken on board.

I will perhaps offer pure shea and/or cocoa butter as an alternative "pure" no additive alternative to my balms, etc. All pointers and advise is a big help so thanks to all!
 

shunt2011

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I can say that I've never had anyone question the preservative in my products. If they did I would just explain as Krista said that it's for their safety. I do give little scoops with my products as well and tell them to try to avoid getting water into them.

I too agree with Carolyn that the customer has to take some responsibility with safety too.
 

Dorymae

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I do sell so I make sure it is stated clearly to keep from introducing water into the product. I do not recommend refrigeration or freezing since it can introduce moisture into the product. All precautions are taken with labeling. We do need to learn to take some responsibility as customers to follow instructions. I use preservative free eye drops in individual vials, but I could get more than one use. In my opinion if I decide to keep the opened vial and use it another day I accept the responsibility it is was labeled single use only. If I get an eye infection from reusing the vial that is my fault not the manufacturer.
While I personally agree with you, I'm very aware, as I'm sure you are too, that there is a population of people who disagree. These are the ones who run to sue because coffee is hot, and burns when spilled. Unfortunately these same people would never admit that they dipped wet fingers into the jar and had not washed their hands for 5 or so hours. I also understand in Cali you probably get a lot of crunchies, that makes it more difficult. I certainly respect your decision of not using a preservative in oil only products, but for me it is still worth adding a preservative.
 
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