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Preservatives in Cosmetics -Roger Mason
We get some really naive letters about the preservatives and ingredients in our creams. Armchair experts read a few Internet ads, and then write in telling us how to formulate our creams. Cosmetics basically must have preservatives, or they will mold over within a month of manufacture. Creams and lotions must have certain ingredients to make an emulsion. You simply cannot make cosmetics out of well water, sea salt, and tofu!
Let’s take the preservatives first. The safest, most effective, understood, and studied cosmetic preservatives are the paraben family. This includes methyl, ethyl, and butyl parabens. Parabens are simply esters of hydroxybenzoic acid;/ This is found in your everyday vegetables and fruits. You’ll find hydroxybenzoic acid in barley, peaches, carrots, onions, grapes, and an endless list of what you eat every day. You will see asinine Internet diatribes about the “dangers” of parabens, that they are “cancinogenic”, they are estrogen mimics, and all kinds of nonsense. Parabens have been used safely for decades, and extensively tested on humans and animals. They are NOT transdermal. This is an undisputed scientific fact- they are not transdermal. Therefore, they can-not get into your body, and cannot get into your blood. If an ingredient cannot get thru your skin, it cannot get into your body, or your blood obviously. Parabens are less toxic than table salt! You would literally have to eat over one pound of them to die of poisoning. One cup of table salt will kill you. That’s a fact. Only about one quarter of one per cent of parabens are commonly used in a cream- a mere 1 part in 400.
You will see very misleading ads from companies claiming their products to be, “paraben free”. Let’s take a look at one of the leading companies, Emerita® progesterone cream. There are no parabens in Emerita, but it contains phenoxyethanol! Folks, go to your favorite search engine and type in, “phenoxyethanol + side effects”, or “phenoxyethanol + dangers”. This is not a preserve-ative we would use in our products. This is 600% (six times) more toxic than parabens.You do not want to buy products with phenoxyethanol as a preservative. Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate is also a bad choice. It is not natural, and is also six times more toxic than parabens. Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are also popular, safe, and effective preservatives, but just aren’t as effective as parabens. Again, phenoxyethanol and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate are both 600% more toxic than (methyl, ethyl, and butyl) parabens.
Aren’t there any natural preservatives such as grapefruit seed extract? No, there aren’t any effective natural preservatives that work. The international research shows that there are no natural preservatives that will stop microorganism growth effectively. If there were, we would use them. One company puts out a progesterone cream without any preservatives. This is made only of coconut oil and progesterone. This is a greasy mess to put it nicely. No preservatives though.
What about the main ingredients creams are made of? Most all companies use propylene glyclol. This is NOT “antifreeze” for God’s sake! Ethylene glycol is antifreeze. Propylene glycol is so safe, it is FDA approved for foods such as ice cream. (No, I don’t want propylene glycol in my food either). You would have to drink 3 quarts of it for a fatal dose! It is not transdermal anyway. What about sorbitol, glyceryl stearate, dimethicone, stearic acid (that’s in your daily food), and cetyl alcohol? These are all safe, well studied, and proven cosmetic ingredients that have been used for decades. None of these are transdermal. All the major natural cosmetic companies use such basic ingredients. They all have to use preservatives in their products. Get your scientific education from medical libraries, and not Internet ads. People now get more information from Internet advertisements than ever before. Getting your education from advertisements is certainly not the Road to Wisdom. Some people will read a few Internet advertisements on a subject (like cosmetic preservatives) and become overnight armchair experts on the matter. Experts in their own minds, of course.
Parabens are the safest, most effective, and well studied preservatives currently available for cosmetics. In the future, we should have even safer ones, but that day may be decades away. You’ll notice that the people who make the most noise about the non-existent dangers of preservatives and cosmetic ingredients are nearly always terminal neurotics. You will often see them drinking organic milk, eating organic eggs, buying raw sugar and agave syrup, and advocating useless supplements like spirulina, acai, lycopene, astaxanthin, and resveratrol as cure-alls. This is a paranoid obsessive mentality more often than not.
We’ll always have the cutting edge, most exotic, most effective, best formulated creams in the world for the lowest price. And they have the safest ingredients possible. We use these ourselves. We've been around for 29 years now (1993), and we figured it all out a long time ago.
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