Preservatives in cosmetic products are a problem and will remain so until the way they are made and used changes significantly. I imagine someone somewhere is working on a project to create cosmetics in a small machine which you can programme with your favourite recipes. That would enable people to choose their own preservative option or to not use them at all and just make their personal care products fresh as needed. But until that technology becomes widespread preservatives are a necessity, and some people will have allergic reactions to them. Even the ones with a low propensity to cause allergic reactions, like the parabens and methylisothiazolinone, still cause plenty of people issues.?
For now the only two options to help are encouraging formulators in the cosmetic industry to use as wide a range of preservatives as they can. So if you are a cosmetic formulator reading this, please consider yourself so encouraged. The other option is clearer labelling.
So it is good to see that P&G have tackled this head on and done exactly that by putting up a website that gives a lot of very clear detail about the preservatives that they use in a form that is fairly easy for consumers to follow.
I think they should be praised for this because this isn’t a cost free exercise for them. I don’t mean the cost of hosting and maintaining the page, which is obviously trivial. The drawback is that while making it easier for consumers to see what they are doing they are laying themselves wide open for scaremongers to use this information to blacken P&G’s product range as being full of preservatives. I get the impression that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and their ilk are not really hitting the spot like they used to. Looking at Google Trends there seems to be a steady downward trend in interest in them.
But even so, I don’t think consumers are likely to fall in love with preservatives any time soon and simply ignoring the issue would most likely have suited P&G’s bottom line better.
So three cheers for P&G’s openness, and I hope other multinationals will follow suit. And for the boffins working on innovative solutions to the problem of allergies to cosmetics, keep it up guys.