why preservatives are used in skincare products

Once upon a time in Skincareland, a group of skincare fanatics gave birth to a natural line of creams and lotions.

They invited all their friends to celebrate. The Antioxidant family was there, with its many children in tow. Mrs Shea Butter was twirling on the dancefloor with her soothing partner, Mr Aloe Vera. The ceramides girls were entertaining their friends with the latest gossips.

Everyone was having a blast.

Then, all of a sudden, the door to the ballroom burst open with a bang. All heads turned in that direction and gasped. The Preservatives clan!

The skincare fanatics had forgotten to invite them. Kinda of on purpose. No one liked those preservative guys. They were harsh. Nasty. Always in your face. What harm could it do leave them out?

“Ladies, gentleman,” DMDM Hydantoin, a preservative that works by releasing toxic formaldehyde, addressed the crowd: “Your new organic, preservative-free lotions and potions should indeed thrive… for a few short months.

“After that time has passed, they will turn into deadly concoctions that will give their users an eye infection, a bad rash, or worse. Goodbye!,” he finished his curse, before turning on his heels and leaving the ballroom with the rest of the gang, leaving everyone else in shock.

Since that day, preservatives have been a necessary evil. Here are 3 reasons why you need preservatives in your skincare products:

Do You Know Some Preservatives Release Formaldehyde?

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1. Preservative-free skincare products don’t last long

Ever wondered why traditional creams and lotions can last up to 2 or 3 years while your organic creams go bad within six months? Preservatives. They’re what makes those antioxidants work overtime and prevent formulas from spoiling too soon.

Preservatives slow down the oxidation process. In plain English, all antioxidants go bad overtime. It’s the same with food. Leave half an apple on the counter and a few hours later, the top layer gets darker. That’s oxidation.

Preservatives slow down this reaction, helping your antioxidants stay active and healthy for months – until you’ve had time to finish the bottle. Phew!

Related: The Truth About Natural Preservatives

2. Preservative-free skincare products are easily contaminated

It’s so easy for a solitary bacteria or germ to sneak its way into your skincare potions. You just have to scoop out the product with a dirty finger or accidentally sneeze when you open the jar.

Most of the time, these solitary intruders don’t do any real harm. The preservative gang spots them immediately, gives them a good beating and kills them before they can reproduce and harm you (told you they weren’t the nicest guys, but they’re just trying to keep you safe).

Without them, that solitary bacteria would procreate and give you a bad rash, or worse. Call me selfish, but if one of us must take a beating, I’d rather the bacteria did.

Related: Parabens Alternatives: Which Ones Are Safe And Effective?

3. Preservative-free skincare products need to be stored in refrigerators

Ok, you don’t need to store any products in the refrigerator, but it helps. Think of preservatives-free products like food. The cold temperature helps them last longer.

Problem is, do you have enough space in there to keep both food and cosmetics in? Even if you do, that still won’t make them last as long as preservatives do.

Preservatives are the skincare police. They have to be harsh and menacing sometimes, but they only do it to keep you safe.

P.S. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid preservatives that release formaldehyde (they’re irritating). Click on the image below to download the complete list of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives:

Do You Know Some Preservatives Release Formaldehyde?

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Have you ever been seduced by preservatives-free cosmetics? Share your thoughts in the comments below.