Are preservatives good or bad in cosmetic products?

Preservatives have become a sticky issue in recent years. Particularly in the cosmetics industry. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the use and need of preservatives, as well as their effects on the human body. 
The scientific fact is that microbes and bacteria can (and most likely will) grow when certain environmental conditions are present. Therefore, in order to ensure the safety of a product, there are products and formulations that need of a preserving agent. 
For example, products that contain water, will most certainly need a preservative of some sort. Whereas products purely oil based will most likely not need one. 
Other products that don't generally require a preservative are those with pH values below 4 or above 8, and products with a high content of alcohol, salt, or sugar.
As with almost anything, in the world of preservatives, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. And it's a treacherous road. Some are natural, some are synthetic , some are more effective than others in the presence (or absence) of certain conditions. So, you see? Not a black and white scenario. 
Generally speaking, natural preservatives in cosmetic and home care products include: 
- Benzyl Alcohol.
- Dehydroacetic acid
- Glyceryl Caprylate
- Potassium sorbate
- Salicylic acid
- Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate
And some other ingredients can be "confused" with a preservative, but the reality is they aren't:
- Vitamin E: This is an antioxidant, but not exactly a preservative on its own. 
- Essential Oils: Although many of them have antibacterial properties, they're not enough for preventing mould, microbes, and bacteria growth. 
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out The Eco Well has to say about the controversial world of preservatives. 
And stay tuned for more information on this topic. 

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