In skincare products the use of preservatives is essential, they prevent bacteria and microorganisms from growing and damaging the product. Just like food products, cosmetic skincare products can soil and grow bacteria and fungi. Any product that is water-based will require some sort of preservative, while oil-based products without water do not need a preservative because oil does not support bacteria growth. We could design products without preservatives, but they would likely be extremely irritating to our skin.
What are some commonly used preservatives in skincare?
Some common preservative ingredients you will likely see in skincare products are phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin, both score between 2-4 on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. Both are limited to concentrations of 1% in personal care products. They are regulated because they can cause skin irritation depending on their usage and concentration.
Parabens are another common preservative, but in recent years research has shown that they can be extremely harmful to our endocrine system and disrupt hormones. Now many companies are scrubbing parabens out of their products and slapping "paraben free" on the labels.
The clean beauty industry is constantly trying to find new ways to scrub out potentially harmful ingredients. A new preservative in the spotlight is Leucidal Liquid, it is essentially fermented radish root derived from Leuconostoc kimichi L. kimichi. It is actually the same culture that produces the Korean staple kimchi!
It is an all natural preservative and is safe to use, receiving a score of a 1 from the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database. But as with any ingredient, use as recommended and follow the manufactures restrictions.
At SUR we currently use both phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin but we are working to scrub these ingredients out and replace them with the Leucidal Liquid.