Antimicrobial systems: What are the alternatives to parabens?

By Julia Wray 28-Jun-2018

With the list of preservative materials for cosmetics shrinking, suppliers are offering smart, synergistic antimicrobial blends, ticking boxes such as ‘mild’ and ‘green’, even for tough-to-preserve formulations

Antimicrobial systems: What are the alternatives to parabens?

The roster of preservative materials available to cosmetic formulators is ever-shrinking due to a combination of regulatory changes and consumer pressure.

There are 59 allowed preservatives in Annex V of the European Cosmetic Regulation (1223/2009). But, as supplier Schülke noted in its presentation 'Formulation of microbial safe products in a free-from world', manufacturers must also take market demands into account.

These exclude formaldehyde donors, halogenated materials, isothiazolinones, parabens, CMR substances and allergenic compounds, as well as anything that would require a warning on the product, or be unsuitable for use on children under the age of three.

When filtered through these rigorous criteria, the list of preservatives available for use in modern cosmetics is whittled down to:


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