A few years back sodium benzoate made headlines when it was found that when used as a preservative in soft drinks along with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), excessive heat exposure could make the two additives form benzene, which is a known carcinogen. Since then, some sites erroneously refer to sodium benzoate as a carcinogen – which is not the case at all. The situation described above that could occur in soft drinks (or other beverages or foods) is not applicable to its use in skin care products. The formula and chemistry in this case is completely different.
Sodium benzoate is also approved for use by Ecocert, a certifying organization that sets standards for organic cosmetics. Ecocert is based in France, but conducts inspections in over 80 countries, making it one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world. Their standards were developed by a team of scientists over the course of years and are some of the strictest available.
On the basis of provided data, the EU Commission Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General Scientific Committee On Consumer Products (SCCP), it is of the opinion that benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are safe for use for preservative and non-preservatives purposes in cosmetic rinse-off products at a maximum concentration of 2.5 % and in cosmetic oral-care products at a maximum concentration of 1.7 %, and in leave-on products up to 0.5%. The amount we use in SkinSanity is under the maximum concentration levels.
All ingredients below are from non-GMO, vegetable source:
- Cetearyl Alcohol - used as a viscosity modifier and does have some emulsifier properties. It is derived from coconut oil.
- Cetyl Alcohol – used as a co-emulsifier and is derived from coconut oil.
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate - used as an emulsifier and is derived from organic potatoes.
- Glyceryl Stearate - used to help stabilize products and decrease water-evaporation and is vegetable derive
- Sucrose Stearate – used as an emulsifying and skin conditioning agent. It is derived from sugar, which is combined with stearic acid from coconut.
- Sucrose Tristearate – used as an emulsifying and skin conditioning agent and is derived from sugar, which is combined with stearic acid from coconut.
- Isoamyl Laurate – used to improve the spreadability of formulations and is from the esterification of lauric acid (from vegetable oils) and isoamyl alcohol (from fermentation).
- See below for the remaining ingredients which make the EU approved, more natural preservative sytem.
Strict rules govern the inclusion of preservatives in cosmetics. Throughout Europe, manufacturers must choose from only those preservatives listed in the EU Cosmetics Directive. These have been subjected to scientific tests and approval procedures before they are permitted for use as cosmetic ingredients. The EU Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC) protects consumers and makes sure that all cosmetic products on the European market are safe. It requires cosmetics to cause no damage to human health when applied under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use. The preservative used in DermOne Skincare is Geogard Ultra™ which is a combination of gluconolactone and sodium benzoate. It is a multi-functional specialty preservative for cosmetics and toiletries, accepted under Natural and Organic cosmetics standards of Ecocert as well as UK Soil Association and NaTrue and is widely considered a reliable and safe alternative to traditional preservatives. What makes this preservative unique is the synergy between the two ingredients which allows for its broad spectrum efficacy. Typically, organic acids on their own are too weak and often require a co-preservative or booster in order to perform optimally. The gluconolactone in this blend works in conjunction with the sodium benzoate to act as an efficient preservative booster, slowly releasing gluconic acid over time thereby contributing to the broader preservation effect.
This preservative blend offers many reassurances as to its safety:
- EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database: Safety Rating – 1 / Data Gap – Limited http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient.php?ingred06=732153
- Broad spectrum (creates an overall hostile environment for varying types of microbes within a formulation)
- Globally accepted (as opposed to the many cosmetic products made in America not allowed to be sold in Europe or Japan due to safety concerns)
- Japan (most stringent criteria of all countries concerning personal care product ingredients)
- North America
- South America
Gluconolactone: is a naturally-derived, usually produced by the oxidation of glucose by microorganism, vegan friendly (non-GMO) preservative with broad spectrum protection that improves skin moisture content, and has an exceptional low toxicity profile, long history of use, non-sensitizing and non-irritating.
Sodium Benzoate: is a preservative approved for use worldwide and is included on the European Union Cosmetics Directive's "Positive List" (Europe has banned more than 1,200 ingredients due to safety concerns). It has also been approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health & Welfare in both rinse-off and leave-in applications. Japan, Like Europe, abide by the most stringent criteria in the world concerning what ingredients can be used in personal care products to also keep the product itself free from harmful contamination. Europe’s comfort level with the safety data associated with this permitted preservative is clearly reassuring.
- Laboratory tests show that Geogard improves skin moisture content
- Excellent toxicity profile - long history of use, non-sensitizing and non-irritating
- Listed as a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredient
- Broad compatibility with other widely used cosmetic ingredients
- Developed without reliance on animal testing
- Contains no GMO’s
- Barley Grass
- Barley Hordeum Vulgare
- Disodium Wheatgermamido Peg-2 Sulfosuccinate
- Hordeum Vulgare Extract
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Pg-Propyl Silanetriol
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
- Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
- Semolina Triticum
- Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
- Triticum Aestivum
- Triticum Carthlicum
- Triticum Durum
- Triticum Polonicum
- Triticum Spelta
- Triticum Turanicum
- Triticum Turgidum
- Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Lipids
- Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
- Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
- Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Bran Extract
- Wheat Amino Acids
- Wheat Bran Extract
- Wheat Germ Glycerides
- Wheat Protein
- Wheat Triticum Monococcum
The Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC was published on July 27, 1976 and ensures their safety for use. A cosmetic product is any substance “intended to make contact with external parts of the human body, or inside the mouth, with the intention of cleaning or perfuming them, changing their appearance, correcting odors, protecting them or maintaining their good condition”.
The U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act define cosmetics as products for “cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” The intentionally vague language gives manufacturers a lot of freedom to produce questionable merchandise without the risk of government interference.
European Cosmetics Directive sets out certain standards cosmetic products must meet before they can be placed in the European Economic Area, such as substances that cannot be included in the formula of the products, requirements for labeling and packaging, rules for market surveillance and notification to the competent authority of each member state and laws relating to animal testing. Since it was introduced, the Cosmetics Directive has been amended by the European Parliament and the European Council 55 times in order to keep up with the changing market for cosmetics. The Directive puts a ban on testing finished cosmetic products on animals, and bans marketing products that have been tested on animals.
U.S. law can’t prevent other countries from importing prohibited cosmetics. Mercury, used mostly in skin bleaching or whitening products, used to be a preservative in shampoos, bubble bath, hair color and deodorants, etc. As it’s absorbed through the skin, mercury causes brain, kidney, and lung damage. But cosmetics containing mercury are often smuggled into the U.S. from China or India. After a case of mercury poisoning from an illegally imported skin-whitening cream occurred, the FDA warned against using such products but was unable to take any further legal action.
While the EU has more protective and stringent laws toward cosmetics than the U.S. does, it also has the advantage of having each member state regulate products within its own national borders. Where we have one regulatory body here in the US, Europe has twenty-seven independent (but cooperative) organizations.