Preservatives in lotions and creams
About using preservatives and antioxidants
Vitamin E and Rosemary Oleorsesin Extract, also known as ROE are both antioxidants. (do not confuse ROE with rosemary essential oil, they are two different creatures entirely). Antioxidants prevent oils from going rancid as quickly as they normally would if left out under normal conditions. So, this makes them good additions to recipes that have oil in them to increase the recipe’s shelf life. Vitamin E (also known as Vitamin E T-50) and ROE do not kill germs or prevent them from growing in lotions and creams. Being antioxidants does NOT make them preservatives. Usage – Vitamin E, 1 % of total formula weight. ROE – 0.1% of total formula weight.
Phenonip and Germaben II, and Germall Plus are actual preservatives. They inhibit the growth of microorganisms, yeast and fungus in lotions, creams, etc. If one is making products for resale, the FDA requires that you put a preservative in any cosmetic that is not a soap. If you are simply making products for your personal use, you do not have to include preservative. However, if you choose not to preserve your lotion or cream (or other formula) then you must treat the finished product as a perishable food item. Either use it up quickly or store in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.
Germaben II and Germall Plus are water soluble. This means that they will only work if water is the major ingredient in your recipe. These products do not withstand high temperatures well, so they must be added when your recipe is finished and cooled to 100 degrees F or below.
Germaben II ingredients – Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. Use 1% of total formula.
Germall Plus ingredients – Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropenyl Butacarbamate. The liquid form of this will list Propylene Glycol as the first ingredient. Usage – 0.2% – .05% of total formula weight.
Phenonip is oil soluble, and so is better for products where oils comprise the majority of ingredients in your formula. Phenonip can also withstand much higher temperatures, allowing more flexibility regarding what stage you add the preservative to your recipe.
Phenonip ingredients: Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben. Usage – 1% of total formula.
LiquaPar Oil is a clear, liquid blend of isopropyl, isobutyl and n-butyl esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid. It is a very stable and effective preservative against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeast and mold. LiquaPar Oil is readily incorporated into various types of formulations, including anhydrous products, without heating. It is a good choice for salt scrubs and bath oils where no water is present but may be inadvertently introduced to the container during regular use, such as dipping a wet hand into a jar of sugar scrub while in the shower. Usage – 0.3 – 0.6% however, in complex formulations, 0.1% Germall II may be required for adequate preservation.
Recommended usage rates are meant as guidelines only. All new formulations should be challenge tested to ensure proper preservation.
Lotions and Creams must be protected against Bacterial, Microbial and Fungal attack and also from rancidity. Good hygiene and usage of safe Preservatives and Antioxidants protects you and your customers from potential injury. Preservatives protect against microorganisms, yeasts and fungus while Antioxidants guard against rancidity. The use of both a preservative and a antioxidant while lengthen the shelf life of your lotions and creams.