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Heating Up the Preservative Debate
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: October 2, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
In the past few years, preservatives have gotten a bad rap. A number of interest groups have raised alarm and consumers fear these materials to be carcinogenic and irritating. Whether or not these negative claims can be substantiated with sound science, the discussion surrounding them rages on, motivating some suppliers and formulators to work toward paraben-free or preservative-free alternatives.
A possible solution to the preservative-free cosmetic formulation conundrum may lie in the milk pasteurization process. Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) sterilization is the process of heating milk or cream to temperatures exceeding 275°F (135°C) for one or two seconds, then packaging it in a hermetically-sealed containers. This type of milk may be stored without refrigeration for 6–12 months, extending its lifespan and possibly reducing the carbon footprint of grocery stores by shrinking chiller capacity.
While UHT milk may be difficult to find in the grocery store, many consumers around the world are aware of it, especially in Europe where hot weather climates make it a necessity. Fewer individuals are aware of this novel technology’s application to cosmetics since it has only recently been explored.
Keeping the Bugs Out
Clean Lab Technologies (CL Tech) announced in early 2008 that it had created a UHT sterilization method to create personal care products without the use of preservatives. “Sterilization refers to any process that effectively kills or eliminates transmissible agents such as fungi, bacteria, viruses or spores from a surface, equipment, food or medication.
Sterilization can be achieved through application of heat, chemicals, irradiation, high pressure or filtration,” said Pierre Coureil, business development manager for CL Tech. According to the Coureil, the process of UHT sterilization is entirely natural, effective for all skin types, free of preservatives and free of allergens. Similar to the UHT production of milk, the UHT processing of cosmetics involves heating the product to a high temperature followed by an immediate cooling to ensure the elimination of all microorganisms.