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Shelf Life: The Future of Preservatives

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Symrise offers an additional solution with Symdiol 68 and Hydrolite-5. These are not preservatives per se, but moisturizers with antimicrobial activity. “Hence, they could be used primarily as moisturizers with a secondary benefit of preservative boosting,” Ravi Pillai, global product manager, Active Ingredients, Sensory Ingredients Division, Symrise, “In fact, Hydrolite-5 is really a multifunctional active—moisturizer, antimicrobial, solubilizer, and emulsion stabilizer.” Pillai states that when used at low levels of 0.3–1.0%, Symdiol 68 helps to lower the concentration of preservatives such as parabens and formaldehyde-donors used in formulations. At higher levels of more than 1.0%, Symdiol 68 could be used to make self-preserving formulations. “These are not ‘preservatives,’ but they help reduce or eliminate preservatives which are under negative press—parabens, formaldehyde-donors or phenoxyethanol,” says Pillai.

Future Evaluation

Clearly, product safety and the environment are two extremely important issues, and ingredients must always be monitored carefully. However, the industry may be in for further evaluation, as well as increased costs, as the new Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) protocol is having repercussions throughout this increasingly global industry. REACH, which originated in Europe, is calling for a re-evaluation of all chemicals. Though it hasn’t been approved yet, Steinberg believes it will be, which then will require all of personal care and cosmetic products to undergo testing.

“It will affect every single chemical,” says Steinberg, noting that this means every ingredient in every cosmetic product sold in Europe whether a company manufactures an ingredient or imports it, must abide by this protocol. Steinberg predicts that REACH will be passed next year, and probably will go into effect in 2009 or 2010. Coming from a regulatory body in Europe, akin to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is giving formulators and manufacturers pause for thought, as it will require testing as well as economic consideration.