I’m trying to find the point in history when preservative-free emulsions became such a dangerous threat to mankind that a superhero in chemist garb (Toxicman) had to come to the rescue with his new formulation he mistakenly called, preservative. Unfortunately, the history of lotion making has been flushed down the memory hole. I’m searching for the problems associated with preservative-free emulsions, but even a web link provided by a supporter of preservatives turned out to be nothing more than a dead end.
The proponents of preservatives say the chemical cocktails are safer than preservative-free formulations. These preservatives have not been around long enough for there to have been long term adverse reaction studies, yet they are declared safe and better than the natural.
One website declares,
“Cosmetic chemists, cosmetic manufacturers, and certainly cosmetic marketers would love to be rid of preservatives. Unfortunately, the disease causing microbes would love it too.”
Profit is the bottom line. Using relatively inexpensive poisons that kill microbes, thereby dramatically extending the shelf-life of a product, leads to immense profits. These poisons allow them to make huge batches that they think last forever. The company, the employees, and the marketers very well know they owe their allegiance to the almighty preservative. For, without it, they would be seeking other means of gain.
I find it hard to believe the chemist and his employer really wish there wasn’t a market for their toxic chemicals. Did the history of lotion making get flushed down the memory hole because preservative-free emulsions are so very dangerous to people using them, or are they dangerous to both the “cosmetic chemist”, and the chemist employed by the chemical company to make more and more “preservatives”?
In these days of toxic living, preservatives are considered by many a necessary ingredient in all emulsions to prevent the growth of bacteria. The widely known and vehemently preached mantra in the cosmetic industry is: “if there is water in it, it needs to be preserved”.
From the English Explanatory Dictionary: preserve [pr?’z?:v] v. & n. –v.tr.
1 a keep safe or free from harm, decay, etc. b keep alive (a name, memory, etc.). 2 maintain (a thing) in its existing state. 3 retain (a quality or condition). 4 a treat or refrigerate (food) to prevent decomposition or fermentation. b prepare (fruit) by boiling it with sugar, for long-term storage. 5 keep (game, a river, etc.) undisturbed for private use. –n. (in sing. or pl.) 1 preserved fruit; jam. 2 a place where game or fish etc. is preserved. 3 a sphere or area of activity regarded as a person’s own. øwell-preserved (of an elderly person) showing little sign of ageing. øøpreservable adj. preserver n. [ME f. OF preserver f. LL praeservare (as PRAE-, servare keep)] preservative [pr?’z?:v?t?v] n. & adj. –n. a substance for preserving perishable foodstuffs, wood, etc. –adj. tending to preserve. [ME f. OF preservatif -ive f. med.L praeservativus -um (as PRESERVE)]
Because toxicman calls his superhero formulas: “preservatives”, we live under the presumption that adding a preservative is necessary to maintain an emulsion in its existing state and keep it safe or free from harm. I’m trying to wrap my head around the notion that a thing will maintain its existing state by adding something to it. It’s impossible to retain the condition of anything by adding to it. The very act of adding alters it. It’s impossible for me to preserve my handcrafted emulsion recipes by adding a substance commonly called a preservative. I can only hope that altering my recipes by adding preservatives will keep them safe and free from harm, decay, etc.
Does adding a preservative really keep emulsions safe and free from harm? Again, I can’t grasp the concept that adulterating my pure emulsions with unproven extraneous materials will render them safe and free from harm. What are these substances that allegedly prevent the growth of bacteria, erroneously named, preservatives? They don’t actually preserve emulsions. The claim is that the substance will prevent the growth of bacteria. Perhaps they should be known as preventatives.
What are these magical substances and how do they prevent the growth of microbes? Obviously, not all preservatives are created equally, so it would not be prudent to assume they are all the same. I also don’t have the time to investigate the myriad substances called preservatives. There is a substance being marketed by Arch Chemicals, Inc. called polyaminopropyl biguanide (Cosmocil CQ). I’ve been to websites selling what they claim are natural and organic products, free from harmful preservatives, that incorporate Cosmocil CQ in their formulas. Does polyaminopropyl biguanide sound natural and organic? It is a synthetic polymer. It is a disinfectant that functions as a preservative. The word synthetic means it is not natural and cannot be organic. Polyaminopropyl biguanide, the biocidal active in Cosmocil CQ, has been extensively tested on animals. Cosmocil CQ has a unique method of action: the polymer strands are incorporated into the bacterial cell wall, which disrupts the membrane and reduces its permeability, which has a lethal effect to bacteria. It prevents the growth of bacteria by literally making them burst. From the Material Safety Data Sheet provided by Arch, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, the biocidal active in this product, has been extensively studied for its toxicity to mammalian systems. Repeated inhalation exposure in rats over a period of 4 weeks resulted in eye and respiratory irritation and pneumonitis. Long term feeding studies in dogs show that the liver and kidney are target organs and the effect occur only at very high doses. Polyaminopropyl Biguanide has been shown in animal studies to produce skin sensitization. Vegan and cruelty free folks, be advised!
Do we really need to use these chemicals posing as preservatives? My experience tells me no. I handcraft all natural lotions and creams that do not become infected with bacteria even without refrigeration, unless sabotaged with a “challenge test” or improperly handled. The 8 ounce pump bottles MammaMichal’s Freshly Made Body Care Products sells our freshly made lotions in help protect the emulsions. We buy body care products so we can use them. If you use your lotion, it will not go bad. From the time we are born we learn to handle things safely and properly. Keep freshly made, all natural, and preservative-free lotions out of the bathroom. For longer storage, put it in the refrigerator. I have lotions that have never been refrigerated and are perfectly safe to use many weeks later. Some I keep around simply as an experiment to see just how long it will take to turn rancid. I’m still waiting.
I have no problem with the use of preservatives. If you feel you need them, then use them. My dispute is with collectivist communitarians declaring: come the revolution we shall all use preservatives in our emulsions. I’m free to make and sell lotions that contain no synthetic polymers, just like they are free to use as many as they deem necessary. The consumer will determine which product they will spend their earnings on. Next time you go to the market, check out the apple sauce that is pure and natural and preservative free standing right next to other brands containing preservatives. The all natural brand comes with a notice to refrigerate after opening and use within 10 days. The apple sauce brands that do contain preservatives are not telling the public it is dangerous to buy and sell a preservative-free apple sauce. The preservative-free, all natural apple sauce will most certainly go rancid even under refrigeration. People take risks and I’m not the only one willing to risk composting all natural products to avoid synthetic polymers and other types of preservatives and chemicals.
Emulsions tend to separate. According to the chemical cosmetic industry, the same consumers willing to shake the mustard and ketchup bottles before each use simply refuse to shake a lotion bottle. Once again, Toxicman came to the rescue. This time the hero in the caped white lab coat introduced us to stabilizers. The chemical cosmetic companies had found another use for the substances they manufacture. Read the ingredients listed on the label of your favorite “preserved” and “stabilized” lotion bottles. Do you know what all that “stuff” is? It was easier to understand a catholic mass in Latin, than it is to comprehend what the ingredient list means. It is literally an emulsified chemical cocktail posing as a harmless and beneficial lotion. Adding substances that have not been tested for long term adverse reactions to products should not be considered safe. I believe it is negligent to simply trust the marketer when they declare their product is safe. There is not a government seal of approval I would trust.
Some proponents of preservatives have the audacity to declare preservative-free emulsions as “catastrophic”. Perhaps they are. What a catastrophe it would be to chemists if word got out that we don’t need their products. Is it any wonder there is a movement to defame and ultimately eradicate preservative-free emulsions? All natural handcrafted lotions are great. Once you use one you will be able to feel the chemicals in a Toxicman formula and you will never spend your money on chemical cocktails again. I, like most Americans, only knew of the chemical cosmetic lotions. It’s all I ever used. After being enlightened to the idea that lotions and creams can be handcrafted in small batches, I decided to give it a try. The result was amazing. The ingredients: distilled water, olive oil, and beeswax. It was the best lotion I ever applied to my skin. Freshly made and silky smooth, this simple lotion moisturized and softened my unusually dry hands. This formula really worked and it did not have one man made chemical in it.