Monday, September 6

Why Batty Uses Preservatives use them or not is often a difficult choice that soap makers and makers of bath and body products face. On the one hand, most who venture into this craft, do so because of a desire to create something more natural and skin friendly than what is currently available commercially. This means doing away with chemicals as much as possible. On the other hand, doing away will all chemicals can lead to the growth of mold and germs. We all know that mold and germs applied directly to the skin is not exactly a skin friendly alternative. Water based bath and body products should NEVER be without a preservative. Many lotion and body butter recipes contain water based ingredients like aloe vera gel, milks, hydrosols and of course plain water. These recipes need to have some sort of blend of broad spectrum or a full spectrum preservative in order to stop the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus.... "natural preservatives" such as Honeysuckle Extract, Vitamin E, Rosemary Oleoresin (ROE), and Grapefruit Extract are actually antioxidants .. in fact, they are awesome antioxidants BUT they are not effective preservatives! There is no such thing as a broad spectrum natural preservative.

When it came my turn as a maker of bath & body products to decide to use preservatives or not, the choice was easy - YES! Of course I'll use them! As I like to say, "nobody needs a free pet with purchase!" - referring to all the bacteria, mold and fungus customers would be getting with an unpreserved product.

This is where the question of parabens comes into play. Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products and you may have read my previous post about why Batty's Bath is paraben-free. If you haven't read that post, in a nutshell, I don't use parabens in my products because some researchers have raised concerns about the fact that parabens have the ablility to mimic estrogen and estrogen exposure is linked to breast cancer development. More over, parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors. They are concerned that exposure to chemicals that mimic estrogen might be having an impact of the development of breast cancer. No studies have been conclusive yet, and many experts such as the FDA, American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have agree that parabens are still safe to use in personal care products but in this case, I'd rather play on the safe side of personal care product ingredients when and where I can.

Although I respect the opinions of these experts, I also don't want to regret any decisions about my products years down the road especially if I have the information and accessibility to avoid any regrets before they happen. I may be overly cautious, but I think of it as being responsible. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night wondering if 10 years from now the researchers who are concerned about parabens turn out to be right and I didn't take their concerns seriously and instead just blindly followed "the experts". Like I said, perhaps overly cautious, but I sleep really well every time I lay down my head knowing that I'm making decisions to (potentially) protect my supporters rather than being complacent by using any excuse NOT to keep working hard towards making my products the best they can be - even if it means I need to totally change the ingredients in a product and basically re-formulate to avoid one potentially dangerous ingredient I'll do it!

Even though I've made the move to paraben free preservatives, I still strongly believe that preservatives are an important ingredient in any formula. If I were to make products free of ALL preservatives, they would be unsafe by the time they were delivered to the customer! Lately, I've spotted a few bath & body companies offering preservative free products but that is just plain scary, unsafe, and irresponsible if you ask me because Bath & body makers such as myself have a responsibility to keep our products safe and of the highest quality for our supporters (not to mention ourselves and our families!).

While you work your way through all the (often confusing) information about bath & body products, personal health, and ingredients in handmade products, I will continue to share my opinions and the information I've found in the latest research reports. My hope is by doing so, straightforward, reputable information will be easier to come by. :)


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