Preservatives… whats the deal?

Preservatives have become a real hot button issue in the “natural” goods market. Part of the issue lies with Parabens, which is a whole other issue… but let me assure you our preservatives are Paraben free, and have been tested for effectiveness.

In my opinion, preservatives have actually gotten a REALLY bad rep, and not very fairly in some cases. In this blog post I am going to do my very best to explain why preservatives have a place, a very important one, in some bath and body products.

First, we can discuss where they don’t belong, or are not needed. Soap, for example… does not require a preservative because the PH level of the soap and the process used to make soap prevents “beasties” (aka mold and bacteria) from growing. Bath bombs would be another example. They do not need a preservative, because they contain no water and are single use items.

Now we can discuss what DOES need a preservative, and why.

Lotion (and body butters). Lotion is an emulsification of water and oils. A preservative is not only precautionary, but necessary. Our lotion making process is very sanitary. Gloves, a lab coat, hair net, goggles, and even a face mask are worn. All tools and containers are sanitized, and our ingredients are pre tested, heated, and held at a safe temperature to kill any bacteria that could potentially be present; but despite all precaution taken, bacteria and molds love moist warm environments, and what is lotion but a warm, moist environment? Adding a preservative prevents bacteria from growing in the lotion over time, when exposed to potentially unclean hands, steamy environments, and temperature changes. We use a paraben free preservative to prevent bacteria and fungal growth, and our lotions are also submitted for testing from a third party testing facility. Our preservative is checked for effectiveness for both bacteria present in sample, and fungus.

This is of the UTMOST importance! I cannot stress enough how dangerous a lotion which was not properly made can be, especially if it does not contain a preservative. One example, quite famous example, is the nurse in the UK which was infecting the wounds of her surgical patients with MRSA, (Staphylococcus aureus, aka Stapht infection) by using lotion which was not properly preserved. This could potentially have been prevented, had the lotion been tested.

Sadly, many home lotion producers do not take this step, and never send their their finished lotions out to be tested. Using a preservative isn’t enough, we need to ensure that our preservative is actually affective in preventing the growth. Some will argue “well, I have used a lotion without a preservative and I am fine” Fair enough. But its a risk, and a risk those responsible are not willing to take.

Scrubs. Our sugar scrub contains no water, it is an emulsification of waxes, butters, oils, and sugar. But it is not a single use item. You will be dipping your wet hand into it multiple times, which introduces some water into the mix. That water is not sanitized, and so could contain bacteria that could grow over time. We add a paraben free preservative to protect your scrub from growing “beasties” over time. Our scrubs preservative is checked for effectiveness in the same manner as our lotion.

We take your safety and health very seriously at Silver Firs Farm, and promise to continue taking extreme care, and all FDA required measures to keep our products safe for you to use. I hope you appreciate these steps we take, and I hope this blog has helped to explain why preservatives are essential in bath and body products.


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