Bacteria, Mold and Yeast – Oh My!
Do you need to use preservatives in homemade DIY natural skincare products? So many of us often choose to make our own natural skincare products because we want to use chemical free products that are kinder and safer on our skin and to take advantage of the wonderful benefits natural ingredients can bring.
But did you know….
There are many natural recipes out there, both online and in published books, that are unsafe and putting your health at risk? Read more at Beware Natural Skincare article. Many products made with these recipes can become contaminated with microbes and grow mold, yeast, and dangerous bacteria – nasty, huh?
Bacteria, mold and yeast growing in your products will:
· Cause the product to spoil or “go off”.
What you may experience is:
· Phase separation
· Changes of viscosity (suspended particles might settle down or float over the surface for example)
· Change of color
· Turbidity of transparent products
· Change of scent
All these scenarios can be caused by unwanted and uninvited microorganisms in your product that may have some nasty consequences for your health including skin and eye infections, thrush, toxic shock and atopic dermatitis. Lots of well-meaning beauty and DIY bloggers (some with huge followings) are trying to develop remedies yet don’t understand the fundamentals of creating safe products. Many books are also doing the same. Do you ever worry that there are homemade products for sale (online, in shops and craft fairs) that are also made by those who don’t understand the fundamentals of making safe products, thereby putting your health at risk?
To create safe, natural products, you need to understand the fundamentals of natural product formulation. The most important part of which is when you need to use a preservative in your product and when you do not.
When can a product be “preservative free” and still safe? Anhydrous products (or non-aqueous products, those that don’t contain water) are not susceptible to microbiological proliferation.
This means that anhydrous products do not provide conditions under which bacteria, yeast and fungus will breed and therefore in most circumstances they do not need a preservative.
Anhydrous products are oil-based products made of vegetable oils, butters and waxes only.
An antioxidant can be added to these products to extend their shelf life. Antioxidants slow the process of oxidation which causes oils to go rancid.
When do you need to use preservatives in your natural products? Any product that contains water (including flower water, herbal infusions, aloe vera) need a preservative. This is the single most important fact to understand when creating natural skincare products. Studies show that bacteria, yeasts and fungi grow “copiously” in unpreserved creams and lotions. Is that something you want to rub all over yourself? The risk of using preservatives in your products is far less than the risk of not using them. Contrary to many DIY opinions, vitamin E, rosemary extract, tincture of benzoin and grapefruit seed extract are not preservatives.
How can you ensure that your skincare products are safe? I include safe preservatives to protect you, our customer. Some people choose to buy natural and organic cosmetics because of chronic skin problems such as eczema or acne. These people have often been disappointed by both physicians and mainstream products (both cosmetics and pharmaceuticals). Other natural and organic product customers are often those people who decide to follow a healthier lifestyle, both in nutrition and skin care.
Not all of us necessarily have healthy, intact skin and a strong immune system. At Organic Moon, we don’t want to give microorganisms any opportunity to harm you. We won’t take risks with our customers health and wellbeing, so we use emulsifiers and preservatives in our products. We’ll discuss more next week about our preservative.
Until next time, remember “Your Skin Deserves Love Too!”