Market Insights

Basel, 03 June 2021

Bio-based preservation support with Zinc Lactate and Lactic Acid

In the cosmetics world there is an increasing demand for products that contain natural, green ingredients rather than potentially harsh chemicals. Especially preservatives like parabens have come into focus of consumers in the last years. Health concerns and a negative perception of different preservative groups have led to a growing trend towards less preservative use and self-preserving cosmetic formulations, often bearing “preservative free” claims. Consumers are looking for sustainable cosmetic products with short ingredients lists, natural ingredients and clean labels, but conventional preservatives do not fit in these concepts. However, the products still need to be safe to use for the consumer and to meet the requirements for the expected shelf life, so reducing preservative content presents a considerable challenge for product developers.

So how can manufacturers avoid conventional preservatives and meet the demand for such cosmetic products without compromising on product safety and stability?

Self-preserving formulations often incorporate multifunctional cosmetic ingredients as a way to improve product stability and consumer safety. Besides their main function such ingredients are able to deliver antimicrobial properties (alone or in combination with boosters) that could substitute for those of conventional preservatives.

Jungbunzlauer, as one of the world's leading producers of biodegradable ingredients of natural origin, offers promising multifunctional cosmetic ingredients with proven antimicrobial properties.

The preservation efficacy of Jungbunzlauer ingredients in a cream formulation was tested by means of the well-established Ph. Eur. 5.1.3. test. Oil-in-water cream formulation including different ingredients to be tested were inoculated with selected microorganisms (bacteria, mould and yeast) to show the biocidal activity of zinc lactate and lactic acid in cosmetic formulations.

Zinc lactate is the zinc salt of lactic acid and combines the properties of zinc ions and those of lactates in cosmetic formulations. It offers a variety of benefits including skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. In a cream formulation, it proved to be effective against microbial spoilage at a pH of 4.5 without the need of any boosting ingredients. As the natural skin surface pH is on average 4.7 the pH of 4.5 is acceptable for a skin cream formulation and supports the acidic protective layer of the skin.

Lactic acid is a well-known ingredient for personal care formulations. The acid serves to adjust the pH or to act as an exfoliating agent. For cream formulations with higher pH values, we recommend lactic acid as a zinc-free alternative. Lactic acid and lactates have the added benefits of humectant and moisturising properties and are naturally present in human cells. In combination with boosting substances like anisic or caprylic acid they offer good preservation support at a pH of 5.5.

Hence zinc lactate and lactic acid from Jungbunzlauer, which are compatible with natural cosmetic standards such as Ecocert/Cosmos, demonstrate multifunctional activities that can offer preservation support for formulating skin care products with less or no use of traditional preservatives. These ingredients enable the formulation of skin creams with a cleaner label and shorter ingredient list.

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Bio-based preservation support with Zinc Lactate and Lactic Acid