Ingredient Spotlight — Preservatives

BARE Skincare
2 min readAug 13, 2020

Preservatives get a pretty bad rap in the skincare community for being harmful but truth is, preservatives are important in your skincare products. They increase your product shelf-life and prevent microbial growth that could’ve led to some nasty infections. A lack of preservatives is why DIY and natural skincare products require refrigeration and have a short shelf-life.


  1. Natural preservatives are those that you’d find in nature in the same form that they are used as preservatives. These include ingredients like honey, vitamin E, glycerin and sugar.

Natural preservatives are relatively effective but only when they consist of 30% or more of the entire product and some may also cause allergic reactions in users.

2. Chemical preservatives are those manufactured in labs and are what some consider unsafe.

Chemical preservatives are however highly effective and are only unsafe if they are in extremely high percentages or are generally not suited for human skin (as they may cause skin cancer or irritation).

Here are a couple of preservatives to look out for and a few you should avoid at all cost.


1, 2-Hexanediol; Boric Acid; Benzyl Alcohol; Parabens; Hoelen; Sodium Benzonate


Formaldehyde; DMDM Hydantoin; Sodium Sulfite; Quaternium-15; Diazolidinyl Urea; Chlorophene


Zinc Sulphate; Kathon CG; Bronpol; Borate; Phthalates; Phenolic acid

Wondering if your skincare products are safe and work for your skin concerns? Whatsapp our dermatologist for a skin consultation.

Eunice Asare for Bare.