Preservatives are a very controversial topic in the beauty world as some of them have potential safety issues. DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15 are some of the preservatives that can release tiny amounts of formaldehyde. Although these are too small to pose a threat to human health, a lot of consumers prefer to avoid them anyway.
Parabens have a bad reputation because of a study linking them to cancer. The study didn’t demonstrate that parabens can cause cancer (although further studies need to be done) and even though current research shows they’re safe, a lot of people prefer to steer clear of them.
Natural preservatives, on the other end, don’t work as well as the ones mentioned above. So, a lot of people wonder why these substances are still in cosmetics and skincare products. After all, some companies already produce preservatives-free products (although they come in small containers that need to be stored in refrigerators) so wouldn’t it better if preservatives weren’t used at all? Not really. Here’s why:
1. Preservative-free products don’t last long
Most cosmetics can last up to one or 2 years. Some even more. That’s because of the preservatives. Without, your makeup and lotions would last only a couple of weeks before going bad and may start growing bacteria.
2. Preservative-free products are easily contaminated
When we use makeup and creams, we could be contaminating them with bacteria. Preservatives kill these bacteria and prevent them from growing keeping your products safe. Preservative-free products, on the other hand, can be contaminated more easily.
3. Preservative-free products don’t need to be stored in refrigerators
As I mentioned above, preservative-free products need to be stored in refrigerators to avoid them going bad, just like food. But not many people want or have the room to keep their makeup in their refrigerators and preservatives make sure your products stay safe even at room temperature.
Although preservatives can potentially pose health risks as well as allergies and irritations, they are the only way to ensure our cosmetics and personal care products are safe. Without them, products go bad and become contaminated with bacteria causing negative reactions that are more dangerous than those posed by preservatives.