Preserving My Product Preserving My Product

Posted on by Jackson Fung

I always recommend the use of preservatives for products that involved with water, because water, milk, or, hydrosols (floral water) provide food for bacteria, yeast, mold and fungus to grow in it.  For safety reason it is recommended to use preservatives to inhibit / slow down the growth of these microbes.

 Note:

  • Natural preservatives are comparatively gentle on the skin but they maybe less effective than common preservatives.
  • Common preservatives are effective but many of the compositions are not approved for organic formulation. 
  • Preservative can prevent contamination, and contaminated products is not safe to use.
  • Preservatives do not kill microbes (bacteria, mold, germs, fungus..etc.) It only slows the growth of them. Therefore, you need to sanitize all the containers.
  • Antioxidants do not have anti-microbial qualities. Antioxidants only slow the development of rancidity of the oil due to oxidation.  You need antimicrobial properties to prevent microbes.

Minimizing Bacteria Growth:

  • Clean Equipment & Container, with alcohol, heat steam, or boiling.
  • Clean Water, use distilled water.
  • Formula Optimization, use a combination of preservatives to achieve a broad-spectrum protection, adjust pH so the preservatives are most effective, combine with the use of ingredients that have antimicrobial properties (essential oils).
  • Storage, temperature, humidity, exposure to UV are all factors to consider.
  • Ingredients, purity of ingredients, and additives such as powders, clays, exfoliants and etc. are all factors to consider.

There are many kinds of antioxidants and preservatives, I am listing out a few common ones listed on ingredient labels.

Antioxidants:

  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Rosemary Oil Extract
  • Vitamin E

Common Preservatives:

  • Parabens, methylparaben, propylparaben, polyparaben, and butylparaben are very effective against most bacteria and fungi, and effective in a wide pH range of 4-8.
  • Ureas, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea are effective in a wide pH range of 3-9, and offer protection against bacteria, fungi, and mold.
  • Phenol, phenoxyethanol is effective against microbes and is often combined with other preservatives to achieve optimal protection.
  • Alcohols, benzyl alcohol, phenethyl alcohol, dichorobenzyl alcohol need to combined with other preservatives to achieve optimal protection.
  • Isothiazolones, methylchloro-isothiazolinone, and methyl-isothiazolinone are effective at low usage level and wide pH range.
  • Chloroacetamide, used as herbicide and preservative.
  • Chlorocresol, used as an antiseptic and preservative.
  • Chloroxylenol, is a broad spectrum antimicrobial chemical.
  • DMDM Hydantoin, is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releasing preservative.
  • Potassium Sorbate, is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, it is widely used in combined with other preservatives (with Sodium Benzoate) in products.
  • Sodium Benzoate, widely used preservatives in food, beverage, and personal care products, usually combined with other preservatives.
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releasing preservative.
  • Sorbic Acid, is a naturally pccuring and synthetically produced preservatives.
  • EDTA, Disodium and tetrasodium is used as preservative and stabilizer.
  • Triclosan, antibacterial agent, some consider it as pesticide. (Caution!)

Natural Preservatives:

  • Aspen Bark Extract Powder
  • Elderberry Extract
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Radish Root Extract
  • Willow Bark Extract
  • Other Natural Preservative Systems

Lower the water activity: 

Water activity is NOT water content! Water activity can be viewed as "free" water that allow micro-organism to grow.  An "Aw-meter" is used to measure the water activity.  In general, products that have ≤ 0.7 would be at low risk for micro-organism activity.  You may also add ingredients that lower the water activity.

  • Butylene glyco
  • Glycerin
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Salts
  • Sorbitol

I always recommend the use of preservatives for products that involved with water, because water, milk, or, hydrosols (floral water) provide food for bacteria, yeast, mold and fungus to grow in it.  For safety reason it is recommended to use preservatives to inhibit / slow down the growth of these microbes.

 Note:

  • Natural preservatives are comparatively gentle on the skin but they maybe less effective than common preservatives.
  • Common preservatives are effective but many of the compositions are not approved for organic formulation. 
  • Preservative can prevent contamination, and contaminated products is not safe to use.
  • Preservatives do not kill microbes (bacteria, mold, germs, fungus..etc.) It only slows the growth of them. Therefore, you need to sanitize all the containers.
  • Antioxidants do not have anti-microbial qualities. Antioxidants only slow the development of rancidity of the oil due to oxidation.  You need antimicrobial properties to prevent microbes.

Minimizing Bacteria Growth:

  • Clean Equipment & Container, with alcohol, heat steam, or boiling.
  • Clean Water, use distilled water.
  • Formula Optimization, use a combination of preservatives to achieve a broad-spectrum protection, adjust pH so the preservatives are most effective, combine with the use of ingredients that have antimicrobial properties (essential oils).
  • Storage, temperature, humidity, exposure to UV are all factors to consider.
  • Ingredients, purity of ingredients, and additives such as powders, clays, exfoliants and etc. are all factors to consider.

There are many kinds of antioxidants and preservatives, I am listing out a few common ones listed on ingredient labels.

Antioxidants:

  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Rosemary Oil Extract
  • Vitamin E

Common Preservatives:

  • Parabens, methylparaben, propylparaben, polyparaben, and butylparaben are very effective against most bacteria and fungi, and effective in a wide pH range of 4-8.
  • Ureas, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea are effective in a wide pH range of 3-9, and offer protection against bacteria, fungi, and mold.
  • Phenol, phenoxyethanol is effective against microbes and is often combined with other preservatives to achieve optimal protection.
  • Alcohols, benzyl alcohol, phenethyl alcohol, dichorobenzyl alcohol need to combined with other preservatives to achieve optimal protection.
  • Isothiazolones, methylchloro-isothiazolinone, and methyl-isothiazolinone are effective at low usage level and wide pH range.
  • Chloroacetamide, used as herbicide and preservative.
  • Chlorocresol, used as an antiseptic and preservative.
  • Chloroxylenol, is a broad spectrum antimicrobial chemical.
  • DMDM Hydantoin, is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releasing preservative.
  • Potassium Sorbate, is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, it is widely used in combined with other preservatives (with Sodium Benzoate) in products.
  • Sodium Benzoate, widely used preservatives in food, beverage, and personal care products, usually combined with other preservatives.
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releasing preservative.
  • Sorbic Acid, is a naturally pccuring and synthetically produced preservatives.
  • EDTA, Disodium and tetrasodium is used as preservative and stabilizer.
  • Triclosan, antibacterial agent, some consider it as pesticide. (Caution!)

Natural Preservatives:

  • Aspen Bark Extract Powder
  • Elderberry Extract
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Radish Root Extract
  • Willow Bark Extract
  • Other Natural Preservative Systems

Lower the water activity: 

Water activity is NOT water content! Water activity can be viewed as "free" water that allow micro-organism to grow.  An "Aw-meter" is used to measure the water activity.  In general, products that have ≤ 0.7 would be at low risk for micro-organism activity.  You may also add ingredients that lower the water activity.

  • Butylene glyco
  • Glycerin
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Salts
  • Sorbitol