Where do they come from?
Preservatives are most often synthetic substances of different chemical families (aldehydes, parabens, phenoxyethanol, organic acids).
They can also be of natural origin and chemically transformed (e.g.: benzoic or salicylic acid).
What are they used for?
Preservatives are used in cosmetic products to preserve product quality and ensure consumer safety by preventing the growth of microbes. A poorly protected and contaminated cosmetic product poses a risk to the consumer and can lead to irritations or infections.
Essential to ensure the protection of certain categories of products from microbial contamination that can occur during manufacturing or after repeated use.
Cosmetic products have a relatively long lifetime (6 to 24 months after opening) and, unlike perishable foods, are kept at room temperature.
Why are they questioned?
They are often accused of causing allergies, playing a role in the occurrence of certain cancers, and are singled out as endocrine disruptors.
• The number and concentration of preservatives that can be used in cosmetic products are very limited and strictly regulated by numerous international regulations.
• The safety data of these preservatives are very often re-examined by the scientific experts of the international health authorities, in order to take into account the most recent studies.
• At this occasion, the concentrations that can be used in cosmetic products can be adjusted in order to eliminate the potential impacts on the consumer’s health.
Why and how do we use them?
We use a very limited number of selected preservatives for certain categories of products. Their concentrations are rigorously determined to ensure the right level of microbiological protection of the product, in the strict respect of international regulations, while minimizing the risk of contamination for the consumer.
We use different kinds of preservatives: if the same preservatives are constantly used, this leads to a higher exposure and therefore a higher risk of allergy for the consumer.
Preservatives can be of natural origin and chemically transformed. We already use some of them in our products, but given their intrinsic allergenic potential (increased risks of contact dermatitis), we seek to gather more data before using them on a larger scale. In addition, their specific characteristics mean that they cannot be used in all formulations.
We are developing more specific packaging and new formulations that are invulnerable to microbiological contamination.