Essential Oils: The Perfect Natural Cosmetic Preservatives

July 16, 2017

Essential Oils: The Perfect Natural Cosmetic Preservatives

Human use of cosmetic products has a long and rich history that dates back to Ancient Egypt. While the cosmetic goal of enhancing appearance has always remained the same, the ingredients used to reach that goal have significantly evolved over time. Egyptians first used copper and lead ore available in their natural environments, and over hundreds of years women learned to stain their lips with berries, use leeches to attain pale skin, and darken their eyes with burnt matches.

Natures Preservative

Of course, today’s cosmetic industry has a come a long way from burnt matches and leeches. Consumers now have a diverse selection of scientifically formulated products right at their fingertips. These products can meet nearly every aesthetic need imaginable. However, such  progress has come with unfortunate consequences.

Many cosmetic products available to consumers use preservatives and artificial ingredients that cause skin irritation and lead to allergic reactions. Certain additives are even linked to more serious health problems like hormone disruption. Consumers are more aware of these dangers than ever before, and as a result they want to purchase products that offer reliable cosmetic benefits while using natural ingredients. Essential oils have emerged as excellent alternatives to synthetic preservatives.

Essential Oils, Nature's preservative

The Connection Between Cosmetics, Preservatives, and Essential Oils

Essential oils are unique because they offer such a wide spectrum of applications. In fact, as many as 3,000 essential oils are of commercial importance in modern industries ranging from food and beverages to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The cosmetic industry has become especially involved in adopting essential oils to meet consumer demands. A great deal of research has been completed to evaluate the exact potential of essential oils to act as natural preservatives in cosmetic formulations.

Modern cosmetics have a high risk of contamination since they are directly exposed to bacteria on the skin, so identifying and using safe and effective preservatives is key to preventing cosmetics from posing consumer health threats and diminishing in quality. Any preservative used in a cosmetic needs to respond to a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi in order to offer high antimicrobial efficacy and prolong the life of products. However, common preservatives like parabens have been linked to health problems and are no longer trusted by the majority of consumers.

Many different essential oils demonstrate powerful antimicrobial properties that have the ability to serve as natural preservatives. Oils like tea tree, thyme, lemongrass, oregano, rosemary, and lavender just start the list.

How Efficient Are Essential Oils as Preservatives in Cosmetics?

Existing research has thoroughly evaluated the reliable antimicrobial powers of essential oils. They are effective in combating both fungi and saprophytic bacteria, which means they have the ability to prevent the main sources of cosmetic contaminations and human pathogens. The exact level of antimicrobial action is determined by each oil’s composition and the concentration of its components. Studies show that tea tree, lemongrass, oregano, and clove essential oils can supply the most comprehensive protection against fungi and bacteria in cosmetics. When combined with balanced portions of safe synthetic preservatives, the synergistic activity between both types of preservatives is even more powerful. This offers product formulators a potential way to compromise between the desire for natural ingredients and the undeniable need to maintain consumer safety.

The consumer trend toward natural ingredients continues to grow each year. This places essential oils in the perfect position to meet evolving consumer demands and supply products that serve their purpose without posing unwanted health threats. Look no further than Aromatic Ingredients, one of the most experienced essential oil teams in Australia, for all of your cosmetic preservative ingredients. The experts at Aromatic Ingredients offer more than 100 years combined experience in the industry and can balance technical expertise, exceptional service, and competitive pricing of raw materials to meet all of your cosmetic formulation needs.


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