The development of successful cosmetics can only start with a stable and protected formula. To do this, the selection of a safe and effective preservative system is the first step for formula development. Nevertheless, it is well known, and reported by experts, that Personal care preservation is undergoing a crisis period: whilst preservatives should be the guardian of formula safety, they are actually perceived as nasty ingredients; Preservative-free has incredibly become an appealing marketing tool. Thus, the question arises: What has happened to our idea of protection?

If we take a rapid look at different markets from the cosmetic one (i.e. the automotive), safety is one of the key parameters for products selection. It happens that safety tools are initially proposed as premium optional, and then often become legally binding, thus thankfully accessible to all; In these sectors, safety is an appealing marketing tool.
In the cosmetic market properly preserved means safe, and safety is the foundation of successful products. We should consider other sectors example and seize July 2019 occasion (when the Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims –Free-from claims annex- will be applicable) to bet on positive communication:  Preservatives are the guardians of cosmetics safety, what about having them in the spotlights, instead of keep on demonizing them?

The question gains importance, when considering the numbers of adverse effects due to inaccurate preservation. First, the increasing number of cosmetics notified or withdrawn from the market because of microbial spoilage. Second, all reported cases, characterized by various degree of gravity, of problematic reactions to the end users; from eye and skin recoverable diseases to, in extreme cases, humans’ death, all them caused by the use of contaminated products. Finally, overexposure: it is quite common, but totally no-sense, to overdose preservatives into the formula; at the same time, it is globally recognized that a limited number of molecules are used to preserve a much bigger variety of finished products. In this way, it is possible that non-dangerous preservatives can become problematic because of overexposure.
To avoid these adverse effects, some simple suggestions for the selection of a safe, effective and economically sustainable preservative system can make the difference:  quality of the molecules and synergistic effects to achieve broad spectrum protection by lowering the dosage, and focus on the dose-dependent preservative efficacy…quantity counts! These recommendations are basics steps to develop a stable and safe formula, which can be added with innovative active and functional ingredients, to achieve successful cosmetics.

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