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I wanted to get some of your opinions about preservatives. I recently read a post on Soap Queen about the use of preservatives in creams, lotions and scrubs. There was a photo of some cream that had gone moldy! Anyway the preservatives they suggest are Phenonip or Optiphen.
Phenonip is made up of parabens. The Optiphen has Phenoxyethanol. Are there any natural preservatives that are as effective?

Tags: creams, lotions, parabens, preservatives, scrubs

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I've been hearing about several that are showing promise but at the moment they're only avail. to commercial chemists. Hopefully they'll be avail. to us sometime in the near future.
One of my favorite lotion crafting suppliers has one that's derived from radish root.
I haven't had the opportunity to have it tested myself yet but I've heard that it needs to be beefed up with pot. sorbate or another preservative ingredient. I have made two batches of lotion using it alone at 1% about 4 months ago and I haven't noticed any changes so far but that might also have to do with the EO blend I used in them. I still have a ton of research to do on it before I'd sell any lotions preserved with it. But I'm working on it.
Hi Michele:

Thanks for asking this important question. As you sort through information, you may find this discussion helpful, since this topic is discussed at this site frequently.

I look forward to everyone providing their insights and experiences.


Hi dM!
Thanks for the link! I never thought I'd get so many replies. This is great.
I have yet to find one. So I don't use any. I simply make my scrubs to order & give my customers a use by date.
Check out Grapefruit seed. They sell it at glorybee.com which is where I have been purchasing products for years.

Good Luck!

This Olfactory

Hi Leanne,
When you say Grapefruit seed, do you mean Grapefruit seed extract?

Preservatives are a volatile topic in the cosmetics industry! The reality is this, if your product is not preserved, it contains bacteria. It doesn't matter how diligent you are at sterilizing containers and utensils, from the moment your formula is subjected to AIR, bacteria and microbes begin to grow. Your product MUST be preserved or you risk your business and your potential clients health. It only takes one lawsuit to shut down your business.

Luckily, there are many options for broad spectrum preservatives on the market. There are some newer preservatives like Tinosan SDC which is based on the antibacterial/antimicrobal capabilities of silver citrate. Optiphen and the Optiphen family of preservatives are one of the most widely used paraben-free options on the market. To date, there is not a "natural" broad spectrum preservative available on the market.

Realistically, we eat enough parabens and phenoxyethanol in our daily diets, that the minute percentages used in cosmetics are less likely to hurt us than our food and water supply. More harm is caused by NOT preserving your product than by responsibly protecting you, your business and your potential clients through the use of a proven, broad spectrum preservation system.
Michele, here is a huge issue that has been discussed on many soap forums in great detail. One preservative that I have used is Tinosan SDC, which is a combination of silver citrate and citric acid. When used in conjunction with potassium sorbate (a derivative of sorbus berries, used in some food and wine as a stand-alone preservative) it is effective in products with a pH of less than 7, which is somewhat limiting.

Other natural preservatives include sugar, honey, glycerin, salt, and alcohol - but these need to be at a high enough percentage (20% for sugar) to be effective. There are a few manufacturers that are interested in making a natural preservative, but none that have come up with anything that has generated much interest - so far. Geogard Ultra is one of those, but it is problematic because it has a distinctive odor that is difficult to mask with most products.

I wish that there was a simple solution to this problem, and maybe someday there will be. I had briefly considered using Optiphen after I had a bad experience with Tinosan: I added it to a tea (herb-infused water) and it instantly curdled into a cheesy mess. I tried to contact the supplier where I bought it, but they never answered any of my emails or phone calls. So I cannot really recommend using Tinosan - although I had been using it for about a year before the curdling fiasco...

I'd love to hear that there's something out there that's natural, doesn't have an odor, and is effective in all pH values, but I know that so far, with my extensive research, I have been completely unable to find one. So sorry!

hi..i make HAND MADE SKIN CARE NATURAL PRODUCTS. Can you please suggest me a natural preservative that i could add to increase the shelf life ..i would be grateful.. Betty Nangia Betty
look at Tinosan sdc
Active Ingredient: Silver Citrate - Silver ions (2400 ppm) and Citric acid USP (Fruit Based)

I havent checked it myself but they use it in their bases and I've seen lotioncrafter mention they used it, so it should be working some- but what I noticed was, lotioncrafter uses it for some,and not for others- which they could have done to make the product all natural- so there may be something to research about it.

This is on their site
Exposure of Tinosan SDC to pH’s higher than 7 and temps above 122 degrees should be avoided in order to achieve optimal formulation stability and prevent precipitation and discoloration.

We also recommended Tinosan SDC it be used in conjunction with Potassium Sorbate @ 0.3% for additional protection against mold, fungus and yeast spores
Has anyone tried Geoguard Ultra? It's new at New Directions Aromatics, and I've also seen it at Lotion Crafter.com
The INCI for Geoguard is: Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate
It's rather expensive...but seems to be a more "natural" alternative. I'd be curious to know if anyone has tried it in their formulations.

The problem with preservatives (it seems), is not what we know as formulators... but what our clients know from false information found on the web. I seem to spend a lot of time defending my ingredients to concerned clients: Everything from silica and titanium dioxide, to castor oil and jojoba wax beads!


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