Preservatives are powerful. They have to be. They have a pretty important job: keeping bacteria, fungus, and mould at bay without otherwise compromising the product.
Working with preservatives is tricky and very demanding, so it's not surprising a lot of DIY skincare makers are uncomfortable working with them.
It's not the kind of ingredient where you can 'wing it' when it comes to type or dosage. The amount added – when it is added – and which one functions best is specific to each formula.
It's definitely not the kind of ingredient where you can add 'an extra dash to preserve even better'.
It just doesn't work like that.
An extra dash can cause more damage than one might imagine, which brings me to today's story: what can happen if you overpreserve a product.
Ask an Expert - a Real OneIt's one thing experiencing unwanted reactions from a product due to ones own experimentation, but I find it awfully disturbing when it happens as a result of guidance from an unqualified source.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of these – all over the globe.
Some offer pricey courses – promising to teach all kinds of things, but aren't quite truthful about their qualifications.
And that's when trouble happens.
Recently, I was asked for my input on a formula from an interested student of skincare formulating. She had burnt her face using a self-made product.
Adding Insult to Injury
I was supplied with the formula which she explained had been approved by her instructor from the online course she had paid for.
Looking at it raised a couple of warning flags with me, but not being an expert in these particular ingredients, I decided to consult with someone who was.
As it turned out, they agreed with my initial impression: the excessive amount of preservative was the source of the problem.
This student had taken the advice of someone she believed to be knowledgable and ended up paying a dear price – both financially and personally.