Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In case you missed it ...

Monday's Virtual Soap Symposium was awesome! Kelly from Southern Soapers did an amazing job of explaining the use of preservatives for us. And, she has been kind enough to provide us with some notes from her presentation. There was a lot of information to digest!

Here is an overview of Monday's class ...

1. Are your cosmetics safe?

Kelly explained, "When we purchase cosmetic products in the store, we take for granted that they will remain usable for a long period of time. This shelf life and safety is only possible thanks to the presence of preservatives in our cosmetics. When we formulate cosmetics products for resale, we have to provide a product that keeps our customer safe."

That means we have to plan for the possibility that customers may not store our lotions, balms, butters and other cosmetics properly, and they might also introduce bacteria, yeast, mold and other undesirables to the product. "We live in a very litigious society and not all consumers accept responsibility for their improper use or storage of products that they purchase."

Bacteria, yeast and mold are present every where - even on our own skin. While cosmetics are not expected to be sterile, they should still fall within safe use ranges. Preservatives help ensure this.

2. Are preservatives safe?

Kelly pointed out that all preservatives used in cosmetics and personal care products have undergone rigorous testing, and they've had to meet strict regulations begore being approved for use. She also pointed out that the amount of preservative in a product is very small - less than 1% in many cases. "Many bacteria, yeast, and molds are far more dangerous to our health than the small percentage of preservatives used in our products."

Even if you're using preservatives in your formulations, it is still recommended that you have your products undergo Aerobic Platelet Counts and Yeast/Fungal testing.

3. What about "natural" preservatives?

Kelly very clearly stressed the fact that Vitamin E and grapefruitseed extract are NOT preservatives. They are antioxidants which can help keep oils from becoming rancid as quickly, but they do not prevent or minimize the growth of bacteria, yeast or mold in your product.

Furthermore, Kelly pointed out, "natural ingredients can sometimes be even more prone to microbial growth — just think about how long fruits and vegetables last in your refrigerator, or how quickly fresh milk sours." Studies have shown that natural ingredients often contain bacteria already - "imported butters or oils can harbor mold or fungi spores, which multiply when exposed to any amount of water in formulations. Many hands come in contact with these luxurious natural ingredients long before they arrive in your formulating `laboratory.'"

4. Preservatives are your "insurance."

First of all, Kelly pointed out that your business insurance may not cover you for claims if you are not using preservatives in your products. Also, FDA regulations do not require us to to use preservatives, BUT they do make it a crime to sell contaminated products.

• The FD&C Act prohibits the marketing of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics
in interstate commerce. Violations of the Act involving product composition--
whether they result from ingredients, contaminants, processing, packaging,
or shipping and handling--cause cosmetics to be adulterated and subject to
regulatory action.

5. Resources: Thank you Kelly for these awsome links!

Sagescripts Microbiology Services

Cosmetic Contamination Resulting in MRSA Infection

Southern Soapers Supplies Preservative Overview PDS’s

Voluntary Registration of your Cosmetics Manufacturing Facility

FDA Authority (FD&C Act)

Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Business Liability Insurance

Indie Beauty Network Business Liability Insurance

Southern Soapers Supplies Business Insurance Rebate Program

Formaldehyde Safety in Cosmetics

Proctor & Gamble Study of Microbial Growth w/ Various Cosmetics Closures

Natural Formulators Should Take Care to Avoid Pre Market Contamination

Question Over Natural Preservatives

Cosmetic Microbiology

FDA’s Cosmetic Safety: More Complex than at First Blush

Microbial Quality Assurance In Cosmetics, Toiletries, & Non Sterile Phamaceuticals (link shortened for Google Books)

6. Information on the specific kinds of preservatives -

If you're looking for specific information on the different brands of preservatives, Kelly has an awesome directory here from the Southern Soapers site:

7. And best of all ...

Kelly most generously has offered etsy soapers a special discount in her store! Enter the coupon code "ETSY25" to receive $5 off a $25 order. Kelly said we could use this coupon as often as we wish, too. (She did ask, if we used the coupon to please heart her etsy shop,


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