Harnessing natural preservation with lichen

Cosmetic and personal care products serve as an ideal medium for microbial growth. Formulators must develop products that are resistant to microbial contamination for safety and regulatory compliance. Ways in which microbes may be introduced: raw materials can be a source of bioburden, unsanitized machinery, packaging contamination, consumer use, etc.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, ‘cosmetics may not be sterile, however, they must not be contaminated with microorganisms which may be pathogenic, and the density of non-pathogenic microorganisms should be low. In addition, cosmetics should remain in this condition when used by consumers’

Regulations are different all over the world, but some similarities can be recognized. Establishing negative and positive lists for the regulation of substances in cosmetics (lists for forbidden ingredients and restricted ingredients) is a similar strategy.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing fascination among consumers for natural and clean formulations, which promise benefits for the skin, but also the planet. However, consumers will not compromise on functionality, efficacy, or sensory appeal, all of which can pose challenges for formulators to meet expectations. 

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