What are they for?
- Microorganisms can grow in almost anything that contains water. Because of this, we believe that personal care products that contain water need to be protected to guard against the growth of harmful mold and bacteria. That’s where our preservatives come in.
- Preservatives are added to baby and beauty personal care products to avoid harmful mold and bacteria that could build up in personal care products over time.
- Many preservatives available today are found in nature. Parabens, for example, are found in blueberries and carrots – it’s nature’s way of preventing spoilage in fruits and vegetables.
- Our safety assessment process tests preservatives to ensure mildness and avoid potential irritation. This includes not only studying how a consumer might use the product but also considers the way they may be stored in your home.
Where do we stand?
Preservatives are essential to water- based personal care products. Without them, everyday products you’ve come to rely on could expire within weeks or even days. Every preservative must pass our safety assessment process before we’ll allow it in one of our products. As a result, the preservative amounts we allow in our products are far below the limits set by regulators.
What do we NOT use?
Many preservatives do not meet our safety and care standards. Examples of preservatives that we will not use in any skin care product include bromochlorophen, formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, formic acid, bronopol, dichlorobenzyl alcohol, triclocarban, p-chloro-m-cresol, triclosan, methenamine, ketoconazole, silver citrate, thimerosal, chloroacetamide, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, and benzylparaben. We also do not use the following preservatives in any baby products: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea.
What do we use?
As preservatives are essential and used in wide range of personal care products, it’s important that we choose the ideal preservatives for a given formula, and at the same time avoid the potential of overuse and overexposure to any single preservative. We do this by maintaining a safe palette of ingredients that takes into account the need for a diverse array of preservative ingredients for our products. Examples of preservatives that meet our safety and care standards include sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol, chlorophenesin; and methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben for adult products. In a small number of adult products, we use DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea when alternative preservatives are incompatible with other ingredients in the formula.
Learn more about DMDM hydantoin here.
The Expert Panel of the U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient Review* has reviewed the use of parabens in personal care products and concluded they are safe at levels up to one percent. EU regulations require that parabens not exceed 0.8 percent and for propylparaben not to exceed 0.18 percent. In the products we make that contain parabens, they are present at levels below the current E.U. and U.S. regulations.
None of our baby personal care products worldwide contain any parabens. For adult beauty personal care products, parabens in new products are restricted to methyl, ethyl and propyl parabens, which have been extensively studied for safety and are supported by regulatory authorities around the world. No other type of parabens exist in our beauty personal care products.
Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives
While formaldehyde releasing preservatives are safe when used in well formulated cosmetic products, we listened to our consumers, and as a result, our baby personal care products worldwide no longer include formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Similarly, you’ll only see formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in beauty personal care products when alternatives are not feasible or safe when combined with other ingredients.