Talk to preservative suppliers. Even in a marketplace that’s ever-changing with consumer desires fueled by speculation more than science, leading companies can help brands keep it simple when it comes to preservation; namely, find something that works, meets consumer expectations and does not cause a great deal of formulating challenges. Experts told Happi that they have stepped up their game to provide vital services and products to household and personal care brands while mainstream public perception about preservatives remains less than favorable.
“We are responding to consumer expectations and our customer demands—either lower levels of preservatives, greener preservatives and more natural type products,” said Albert Babik, general manager of Jeen International.
According to Babik, two of the company’s newest technologies, Jeecide AA and Jeecide AA Plus, are getting “fast-track” approval from boutique-style and multinational brands. Both were showcased at In-Cosmetics in London and NYSCC Suppliers’ Day in New York City.
Jeecide AA is an easy-to-use liquid blend of benzyl alcohol, benzoic acid and sorbic acid formulated in balance to meet the preservation needs of personal care products ranging from shampoos and conditioners to skin care serums and most creams and lotions. It is particularly useful in natural and organic formulations due to the wide acceptance of the three components comprising the product, according to Jeen.
Jeecide AA Plus is an optimized easy-to-use liquid blend of benzyl alcohol, benzoic acid and sorbic acid formulated with 1,2 pentanediol to create a synergistic balanced preservative composite to meet the preservation needs of personal care products. Jeecide AA Plus delivers equally potent results as Jeecide AA while using a lower threshold of benzyl alcohol, benzoic and sorbic acids. Therefore, this powerful composite allows for use at higher percentage in formulations while staying at or below the maximum allowable limits for preservatives in more challenged applications or for more challenging preservation needs.
According to Babik, Jeen is developing products such as these in direct response to industry and customer requests for alternatives to parabens and formaldehyde-donors.
“Even if the industry recognizes that there is no scientific basis of some for the stigma, our industry is responding to consumer perception,” said Babik. “Almost one by one, the pool of preservatives is being weeded out,” which is causing the market to look at a variety of options, including the use of boosters. To that end, Babik pointed to a workhorse technology found in Jeen’s stable, Jeecide CAP 5 (INCI: Phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, potassium sorbate, water, hexylene glycol), which he says was one of the first products to use a booster, a trend that is shaping new product development within preservatives.
“We are in an era of constantly changing regulations and evolving consumer preferences,” noted Dan O’Keefe, director of business development for Coast Southwest, Inc., which has maintained a pivotal relationship with venerable preservative expert Sharon Laboratories for more than two decades. That alliance has provided a “continuum of preservative systems” that allows Coast Southwest to be responsive to its customers as they develop products driven by current market demand, noted O’Keefe, who pointed to Sharon’s 40-plus years of experience in delivering traditional ingredients, “free of” alternatives, and naturally-derived, laboratory-tested, and organic options that meet the latest preferences and regulations in personal care, including rinse-off and leave-on formulas, wipes and baby-oriented products, he insists.
While traditional preservation systems remain a robust part of its offering, particularly for products targeted to the general market, Coast Southwest offers a full range of preservatives that include alternative solutions that are free of ingredients like phenoxyethanol, and the SharoSense line, based on naturally-derived thymol, which is combined with other laboratory-proven technologies to bridge the natural and synthetic worlds, according to the company.
One of the newest options available through Coast Southwest is Amplify, which takes proven preservative technologies and boosts their efficacy with the addition of ethyl lauroyl arginate (ELA), according to O’Keefe. With Amplify, less preservative delivers more protection, and this broad-spectrum product has no color, no odor, and is not pH- or temperature-dependent. It’s free of paraben, formaldehyde, and CIT/MIT, too.
“The entire personal care industry wants to lower the level of preservatives in their formulations to respond to market demand. Amplify is the solution, delivering never before seen preservation options for personal care formulations,” said O’Keefe.
David Koehl, global business manager, home and personal care at Troy, also pointed to the evolution of perception and regulation that’s impacted the preservation sector.
“The preservatives market is very dynamic with sudden changes driven by the latest regulatory restriction or even news and social media,” he said.
For instance, Koehl noted that the personal care market has been moving away from isothiazolinones over the past couple of years, and he is now seeing this trend carry over into the HI&I markets, primarily Europe, due to pending regulatory changes.
He also pointed to scrutiny of phenoxyethanol, although the ingredient has a long history of usage.
“While phenoxyethanol is a safe and highly effective preservative, European regulators recently reviewed and reiterated their support for its continued use in all application types up to 1% maximum; some formulators are concerned with how their customers view this ingredient, due to information circulating on the internet and elsewhere,” said Koehl.
Troy’s stable includes TroyCare PE-series, which the firm says offers the best solution for many leave-on products, such as creams, lotions and wet wipes. This series, containing the widely approved and accepted ingredients, phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin, performs particularly well in these products without the use of restricted or controversial ingredients, noted Koehl.
For rinse-off products like shampoos and liquid soaps, formulators can consider the TroyCare FE-series. Containing phenoxyethanol and IPBC, it performs better than many competing chemistries that struggle in the presence of high surfactant loading, according to Koehl. For HI&I, there’s TroyGuard 44. EPA-registered, it contains sodium N-(hydroxymethyl)glycinate and is unique from many other registered preservatives in that it complies with the Ecocert Detergent Standard, said the firm.
One of the newest launches from Troy is the TroyCare EPP series, a multifunctional product line containing phenylpropanol and ethylhexylglycerin.
“While delivering mild fragrance and emolliency, TroyCare EPP series also provides broad-spectrum protection to many formulations. [It] is ideal for those formulators wanting to avoid phenoxyethanol,” Koehl told Happi.
A Past and Present Presence
Brands are well served when they seek companies with long resumes in preservation. schülke, for example, has been in the business of protecting people and products against microbial contamination since 1889 when its founders invented Lysol (the world’s first branded disinfectant). The company’s first industrial preservative dates back to 1924 and its first personal care preservative (euxyl K 100) debuted in 1978—and is still widely used today.
“Our expertise lies in blending chemistries to produce optimized, broad-spectrum preservation systems. We are one of only a very few companies that focus solely in the area of microbial protection,” said Linda B. Sedlewicz, country manager at schülke, inc. in Fairfield, NJ.
According to Sedlewicz, Schülke’s euxyl PE 9010 “found its niche when more traditional preservatives began to receive more public scrutiny and has been growing in popularity ever since. It is gentle, broad-spectrum, globally approved, patented and easy to use in most personal care formulation types.”
The company also touts sensiva SC 50, which it describes as the only stabilized ethylhexylglycerin available today, and sensiva PA 40. With sensiva SC 50, a patented stabilization method maintains color, odor and chemical stability during the entire 36-month shelf-life of the product. Meanwhile, sensiva PA 40, a blend of natural, nature-identical and gentle synthetic materials that aid in the formulation of microbiologically stable personal care products, is particularly effective at protecting difficult to preserve formulas, like sunscreens, according to Sedlewicz.
Schülke recently conducted a study on preserving emulsions with high levels of natural oils and is currently working on a study involving high SPF sunscreen formulas.
“In both cases, our sensiva PA 40 works exceptionally well. This gentle, antimicrobial stabilizer has been shown to maintain the microbiological stability of high SPF products at 1.5% when used alone or at 0.7% when used with a chelating agent,” Sedlewicz told Happi.
Another option is euxyl K 903, which has been formulated to be compliant with many “natural” certification bodies (i.e. Ecocert, Natrue and Cosmos). It has broad-spectrum activity in personal care products with pH up to 6, according to the company.
Sedlewicz, like other preservative stakeholders, voiced concerns about pressures being placed on the category.
“Recently, there has been increasing pressure from large retailers regarding certain chemistries. The concern is based on their marketing teams’ desire for ‘safer’ products. However, these decisions are not based on the weight of scientific evidence. They rely heavily on misinformation that can be found readily on the internet,” she said. “Traditional personal care preservatives have been used safely for decades. There is a wealth of data supporting that safe use. Most newer, 'natural' preservation technologies don’t have the depth of safety data to support the use in a wide variety of product types. Formulators are being forced to use less well understood chemistries in developing what, from a marketing prospective, is expected to be a ‘safer’ product. Unfortunately, less data does not make a chemistry safer.”
Sedlewicz also voiced concerns about regulatory bodies in both the US and the EU surrounding the use of multifunctional or non-traditional preservation methods.
“The US FDA is giving products containing these systems priority over more traditional preservation methods when inspecting and sampling. The EU is considering how these systems should be regulated in the future. It is imperative that the products formulated using these non-traditional methods are held to the same standards as more traditionally preserved products,” she said, adding that all schülke products, whether traditional or non-traditional, must pass the same quality and efficacy criteria, assuring consistent microbial stability of our customers’ products.”
Still, Sedlwicz said she was pleased the recent opinion of the SCCS in Europe that allows the use of polyaminopropyl biguanide (PBMH) up to a maximum of 0.1% in personal care product (with the exception of sprayable products). She pointed to euxyl K 702, a broad spectrum combination of phenoxyethanol and organic acids, containing an allowable level of PBMH to enhance activity. It is globally approved and effective in a wide range of formulation types, according to schulke, which is a sponsor of the Global Chemistry and Commerce Council’s GC3 Challenge: Developing New Preservatives for Personal Care & Household Products (see side bar).
Another company with a long history is Lincoln Manufacturing, which has more than 30 years of preservative experience in microbiology, analytical and innovation design and specializes in customizing preservative systems. The company’s roster includes products like Lincoln Linatural MBS-1, a patented, synergistic efficacy, broad spectrum preservatives system consisting of a natural, safe emollient. Mild, water soluble and easy to use, it works great in lower pH water formulations like facial toners, serums and all personal care products, according to Pat Lutz, president.
The firm also touts Linatural Ultra-3, an all-natural, multifunctional antimicrobial (preservative) broad spectrum system that is listed on CleanGredients. Low odor, easy to work with and covering wide pH range formulations, it works well in both personal care and household products. Lincoserve PA-2 is described by Lutz as a broad spectrum, cost effective alternative that is phenoxyethanol free, according to the firm.
According to Lutz, a benefit of working with Lincoln Manufacturing is that customers get to work directly with the microbiologist, chemist and owner to cut down the speed to market.
“Customers are coming to Lincoln MFG for speed of customizing alternative preservative systems of all type to get away from older conventional preservatives,” he added.
Customers also want products with added benefits, like Lincoln’s Lintelligence IQ line of multifunctional antimicrobials. The line includes Lintelligence IQ-LL-1, anhydrous multifunctional antimicrobial based on chlorphenesin and dehydroacetic acid with the value added slip agent Lauroyl Lysineto Lintelligence IQ-PCA-2. This broad spectrum preservative system for formulations with pH below 6.5 contains the value-added humectant ingredient, sodium PCA.
Killing Them Softly
Hurdle technology is INOLEX’s approach to preservation where multifunctional ingredients and other formulation factors are used to create an environment that is inhospitable to microbial growth. As opposed to traditional methods of preservation, hurdle technology is a formulation approach whereby combinations of ingredients and other aspects of formulation are used along with good manufacturing principles to create self-preserving or paraben-free formulations, said the company. In the practice of the hurdle technology, formulations that pass challenge tests can be created without the inclusion of traditional preservatives such as parabens, isothiazolinones and formaldehyde donors, noted Fana Makonnen, global technical marketing manager.
“Consumers have a less-than-favorable perception with traditional preservation systems. Their concerns with potential health risks associated with traditional preservatives such as parabens and formaldehyde therefore continues to drive the shift in the preservative landscape towards non-traditional systems like the Lexgard and Spectrastat series,” Makonnen told Happi. “Formulators are looking for softer approach to preservation. Additionally, customers are looking for natural options in their alternative preservation options.
Spectrastat is a system containing a diol or an aromatic alcohol with antimicrobial properties, along with caprylhydroxamic acid (CHA), an organic acid and chelating agent, in combination with a solvent such has glycerin. A special benefit is that they preform superbly at neutral pH, a state where many other alternative preservation systems are ineffective. While the first was rolled out in 2007, the newest offering in the family is SpectrastatTMG2-N (Caprylhydroxamic acid (and) glyceryl caprylate (and) glycerin), which is NSF certified and acceptable for use in organic personal care products.
The company also offers Lexgard O-EZ, which is a fully liquid solution for cold process systems that combines performance and ease of use, according to the company.
“The growth in demand for non-traditional systems signifies the importance of preservation in beauty care and the voice of consumers,” said Makonnen. “Consumers demand innovative, functional products that are safeguarded from microbial contaminations. We are listening and providing softer options and in the process educating the consumer on the importance of alternative preservation systems play in the products they love and use.”
There are other new technologies available to aid companies in their quest to preserve their product and meet consumer trends.
Vertellus offers the sector its Freshstat family of products, which was developed to provide formulators with a safe, cost-effective preservative technology offering broad-spectrum efficacy. The range incudes Freshstat as well as new Freshstat Plus, CPC-based (INCI: Cetylpyridinium chloride).
Freshstat is an odorless, colorless liquid offering formulators a high degree of versatility due to its efficacy across a broad pH range. Proven effective against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi in creams, lotions and body wash formulations, safety testing has shown that CPC is negative for skin sensitization potential and irritation at formulation levels up to 0.5%.
Just launched his year, Freshstat Plus is specially formulated as a preservative for anionic surfactant systems such as SLS and SLES. Freshstat Plus contains proprietary technologies that naturally boost the performance of Freshstat in surfactant-based systems such as shampoos and liquid body washes.
According to Vertellus, although a relative newcomer in rinse-off and leave-on formulations, CPC has been effectively used as an ingredient in oral health care products in the US, Europe and Japan for more than 40 years. It is approved as a cosmetics preservative by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and received a favorable safety opinion from the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).
“Consumers want disclosure and assurance when it comes to the ingredients used in their personal care products. From both a manufacturer and consumer assurance perspective, Freshstat and Freshstat Plus do not contain parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde-releasing substances or isothiazolinone, making the Freshstat family of products an appealing option for consumers who are increasingly interested in the ingredients used in their personal care products,” said Anahita Lion, global business manager-personal care.
Ashland is offering Conarom b aromatic (INCI: Phenylpropanol (and) humulus lupulus (hops) extract), described as an effective solution that addresses the growing consumer demand for multifunctional and sustainable ingredients. The aromatic, which is based on naturally derived hops extract and the nature identical phenylpropanol, adds a gentle flowery-to-spicy fragrance to differentiate and impart additional allure to the end use formulation. At dosages of 0.3 to 2% it contributes to microbial stabilization by delivering broad antimicrobial protection as a secondary effect, according to the company, which contends formulators will appreciate the liquid state, good formulation compatibility and broad pH applicability. According to Ashland, it can be added to formulations at any phase when worked into products at ambient temperature. Typical uses include body and skin care emulsions, sun care, shampoo, body washes, conditioners and wet wipes.
Not everyone balks at traditional chemistries that have served the category well for decades.
“Some years back, many producers were seeking a paraben-free preservative system; I believe that the broad spectrum success of parabens has proven the test of time and Protameen is supplying more parabens to the market now than we had some five years ago,” Manny Balsamides, Jr. of Protameen told Happi. The company’s three main parabens are methyl, propyl, and butyl, which all deliver cost effectiveness and proven efficacy.
“Parabens are making a comeback which indirectly means the acceptance of parabens in the market,” Balsamides said.
Additionally, he suggested formulators consider two preservatives that are under-utilized and of natural origin: potassium sorbate and sorbic acid.
The category needs to offer multiple choices so formulators can keep their products safe and answer consumer sentiment.
“The committed preservative supplier needs to be flexible and have a number of options to play in the space,” Phil Hindley, head of global marketing preservation, told Happi, pointing to Lonza’s deep expertise, global reach and stable of products that ranges from BIT-driven Proxel for home care to Mikrokill COS for personal care products like skin care, hair care and sun care systems to Geogard Ultra. A synergistic and patented blend of gluconolactone and sodium benzoate, Geogard Ultra has proven broad spectrum activity, a wide range of global regulatory approvals and broad formulation compatibility, added skin moisturization benefit and conforms to Ecocert/Cosmos, Natrue and the Soil Association.
Companies like Lonza remain fully committed to preserving the future of, well, preservatives. In fact, Happi interviewed Hindley just ahead of his presentation on that topic at the World of Wipes in Nashville, TN.
“If people want a sustainable preservation industry within home and personal care, then it needs to be done at collaborative level—suppliers, NGOs, etc.,” said Hindley, adding that stakeholders must defend existing actives and work with NGOs and regulators to influence and drive innovation.
Sedlwicz of schülke also called for the sector to standup for good chemistry.
“In general, the personal care industry needs to do a much better job in supporting the safety and efficacy of preservatives in our products. It is far too easy to take the latest internet scare or trend and turn that into a marketing claim of “this-free” or “that-free,” she added. “As an industry, we need to stop this negative advertising and promote the good things that our products do. This includes how the use of appropriate preservation methods keep our products safe to use, even stored in a warm, moist bathroom for months or years.”
If there’s a silver lining that’s come from all of the scrutiny around preservatives, it could very well be greater collaboration between suppliers, formulators and end product suppliers that has led to NPD and will drive further advancements.
“Consider how many of the “new” go-to products from the last seven to 10 years have already fallen out of favor with many consumers and watch groups,” said O’Keefe of Coast Southwest. “There is a mutual opportunity as formulators seek new technology and dozens of producers race to meet the demand. It’s a healthy market where all parties stand to gain from the shared objective of giving consumers what they want.”
• According to the Environmental Defense Fund, a new report reveals “key barriers to innovation in an important, but challenging class of chemistry—preservatives.” According to the watchdog group, data gaps were identified among all 16 preservatives evaluated in the study, including around endocrine activity and neurotoxicity.
The report finds that to meet increasing consumer and retailer demand for safer chemicals, health and safety information must be more widely shared along the supply chain, according to the group.
The group pointed to major retailers, including Walmart, Target, and CVS, which have released chemicals policies that aim to drive chemicals of concern off their shelves and ensure consumer access to safer chemicals and products; all three retailers have targeted certain preservatives for removal from products including baby and beauty and personal care products.
In its press statement, Environmental Defense Fund penned, “Smart innovation is necessary to ensure that products are adequately preserved against problematic microbial contamination while also satisfying demands for safer chemicals.”
The release also included the following statement from Zach Freeze, senior director of sustainability at Walmart: “Walmart works with suppliers and organizations like EDF to advance sustainable chemistry—encouraging reducing, restricting and eliminating priority chemicals in products. EDF’s baseline information on preservatives can help companies make more informed choices and deliver more sustainable innovations.”
EDF says it launched the Preservatives Innovation Project (PIP) “to better understand the barriers and enablers to safer chemicals innovation in the marketplace, with particular interest in exploring how a consistent toxicological evaluation of a chemical class can guide innovation and data development via the identification of hazard hotspots and data gaps.”
Further, EDF said, “the report finds that without transparent, structured sets of baseline health and safety information, safer chemical innovation will remain difficult. Shared hazard assessment information through a new ‘Chemicals Assessment Clearinghouse’ would accelerate innovation.”
“A Chemicals Assessment Clearinghouse is a strategic intervention that would power smart, safer chemical innovation by academics, entrepreneurs and others and ultimately lead to a more healthful, product positive marketplace,” said EDF senior scientist Dr. Jennifer McPartland.
The full report can be found at www.edf.org/preservatives
• The deadline for the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) global competition to identify and award prizes to innovators with promising, safe and effective preservative systems for cosmetics, personal care and household products is fast approaching on Aug. 24, 2017.
The competition is sponsored by group consumer product companies, retailers, chemical suppliers, an NGO and a government agency—Biryanis, Beautycounter, Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Method – People Against Dirty, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Reckitt Benckiser (RB), SC Johnson, Unilever, Target, Walmart, Dow Microbial Control, Lonza, Schülke, Thor, Environmental Defense Fund and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The corporations in the project seek to partner with innovators to co-develop, license or invest in new technologies to speed them to market. The competition will award cash prizes from the $175,000 prize pool, with a minimum single prize award of $25,000. Specifically, the sponsors are looking for submissions of broad spectrum or single action chemical agents that are effective on gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, yeast, and mold; preservative boosters and multi-functional ingredients that have a primary non-preserving function, yet enhance antimicrobial efficacy.
Up to five finalists will be invited to present their technologies at a meeting in the first quarter of 2018 in the US and to network with representatives from consumer product companies, major retailers, and preservative suppliers. According to the group, all innovators who submit to this competition will gain significant visibility and receive feedback on their technologies.
More info: www.greenchemistryandcommerce.org or Monica Becker (firstname.lastname@example.org)