Kaitlin asks…I recently read about this organic preservative (Arobocide.) I emailed the company (active micro) and they provided me with the information and testing along with their formulation for the testing. Has anyone tried using this in their lotions? I would love to use in my current organic formulation.
The Right Brain responds:
It’s interesting to watch this debate over safety versus efficacy of ingredients. It seems like some of the greatest debate is in the area of preservatives.
Safety concerns drive development of new preservatives
As we all know parabens, one of the most common preservatives in cosmetics, are under scrutiny because of concerns over potential carcinogenicity. It’s a good thing that the proper research is being done to make sure these ingredients are safe, however at the time of this writing the best data says that there is no issue with the ingredients as they’re currently being used in cosmetics. Still, it’s hard to remove the taint of being associated with cancer and not surprisingly consumers are looking for alternatives. Enterprising raw material suppliers are eager to meet this emerging market. Case in point: this new organic preservative that Kaitlin asked about.
What is Arobocide?
Arobocide is an innovative ingredient from Active Micro Technologies (AMT) which is based on Leuconostoc spp. It is derived from a fermentation filtrate and contains non-viable microorganisms that can inhibit the growth of “bad” bacteria. Interesting fact: Leuconostoc spp is related to the micro-organisms used to create Kimchii, Korean fermented cabbage. It’s a classic “No” product: No Ethoxylation, No Irradiation, No Sulphonation, No Ethylene Oxide treatment, No Hydrogenation and it’s GMO Free. So, as far as we know, it has an excellent safety profile. But is it effective?
Does Ar0bocide work?
According to AMT’s published data, Ar0bocide was tested against a variety of organisms but they appear to be are all gram positive or negative. There’s no indication this material is efficacious against molds and fungi. Broad spectrum protection is very important for cosmetic products. A preservative system that only protects against some microorganisms leaves the product vulnerable to contamination.
Also, we noticed that this material must be used at 2% to 4% which is extraordinarily high for a preservative. Usually these are used at a few tenths of a percent. We don’t know the cost of this material but it may be affordable only in the most high end of products. Finally, it’s interesting that it apparently has some skin conditioning properties, so perhaps you can lower the level of other emollient ingredients to offset some of the cost.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
It looks like this ingredient could be a safe choice if you’re concerned about “chemical” preservatives. However, it does not have the broad spectrum activity required to effectively protect cosmetic products. So please be cautious if you choose to use this in products of your own or purchase products that use this as a preservative.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/5333657220/
What do you think? Do you chose your cosmetics based on the preservative? Leave a comment and share your thoughts the rest of the Beauty Brains community.