Free From Preservatives

The Dangers of Preservatives

Preservative-free skincare is a growing trend which has arisen from the fear that preservatives aren’t safe and could be linked to cancer.

Firstly I would like to dismiss the many claims, especially in relation to parabens, that preservatives cause cancer. These claims are not only misleading but also highly irresponsible and those who tout them are either scaremongers or uneducated. Scientific proof (especially in relation to parabens) cannot confirm any link between the preservative and causing cancer.

When you consider that a preservative is used at less than 1% in a product, it can feel like the whole debate of preservatives versus 100% natural has gone dangerously out of control.

When is it Safe Not to Use Preservatives?

Where a product contains water (“aqua” on the ingredients label), it must contain a recognised preservative system.

Where a product does not contain water (“aqua” is not listed on the ingredients label), a preservative does not need to be used.

Water carries bacteria and fungi, most of which are invisible to the eye. If a product containing water does not have a recognised preservative system, then invisible bacteria and fungi can quickly begin to grow and this can cause damage to your skin.

Choosing Preservative-free Skincare Comes with Responsibilities

Whilst you may prefer to use preservative-free skincare, it comes with responsibilities that you need to accept and parameters that you need to respect. These include:

  • Respect the BBE (best before end) date listed on your product’s label. This will either show a date by which you should finish using your product or may be shown in the form of an open jar with a number of months listed beside. This open jar symbol tells you how many months you can continue to use your product after it has been opened.
  • Do not introduce water into your product. You need to take every precaution to ensure water is not introduced into your product. If you introduce water, you are introducing invisible bacteria into your product. As the product does not have any preservatives in it which would fight the bacteria, your product could quickly become unsafe to use.
  • Avoid introducing bacteria into your product. The easiest way to do this is to avoid putting your finger directly into your product but, rather, use an application stick. If you do not have an application stick, ensure your finger is clean and dry before dipping it into your product. Also, do not share your products with others who may introduce bacteria into them. As mentioned in the point above, as the product does not have any preservatives in it which would fight the bacteria, your product could quickly become unsafe to use if bacteria is introduced to it.
  • Respect a change in scent. Over time, certain interactions can take place and alter the overall scent of your product. If the fragrance becomes less pronounced; that’s perfectly fine. However if you start noticing a strange, rancid smell in your product, it’s more likely that the oils or other ingredients in your product have become oxidised. And that’s your cue to throw your product away.