SKINCARE PACKAGING MATTERS: WHY YOU NEED TO DITCH JARS
If you’re spending money on skin care products that come in jars, you’re doing your skin a major disservice, skincare packaging matters far more than you think!
Innovations in understanding skin function & advancements in skin care formulations have led to products loaded with antioxidants, essential oils and plant extracts but not only will you not reap the maximum benefits but could actually be worse off over the long run if using jars.
1. Oxidation stability
The best skincare products contain a ton of must-have ingredients like antioxidants, plant extracts and natural oils. Just like a freshly cut apple will quickly turn brown as it suffers from oxidation, every time you open the jar and expose it to light and air, it will lose a bit of their effectiveness, diminishing the potency of the ingredients.
Antioxidants, as noted in our Science in Skincare blog post, “Antioxidants: The unsung superheroes in skincare”, can counter the oxidation process but one of the critical factors in any anti-ageing or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. You are better off leaving the antioxidants & skin healing ingredients intact to work their magic on your skin.
2. Microbial Contamination
If it’s just a basic, bland moisturiser, you don’t have too much to worry about, so, you are safe right? Well no, each time you dip your fingers into the jar, you are contaminating it with microbes that are invisible to the naked eye. Yes, even if you’ve just washed your hands, traces of microbes are still left behind. Once you notice the cream has started growing a colony, it’s far too late, the product was compromised a long time ago.
Microbial contamination is a trigger for acne, irritation and infection so it’s vital to keep these microbes in check, the last thing you would want to do is spread these microbes around your face. Preservatives can go a far way to kill these pesky microbes but, life, whose sole purpose is to exist and proliferate, always finds a way.
So why do skincare manufacturers still use jars and clear bottles?
The issue with packaging isn’t some hidden skincare science secret. It’s widely known in the skincare industry. This information is clearly presented in the Guidelines on Stability of Cosmetic Products (March 2004) published by both the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) & The European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA).
To get around the deficiency of inadequate packaging, other skincare manufacturers will either formulate without beneficial ingredients, use an artificial scent, include an industrial strength antioxidant, increase / use high strength preservatives or some combination of all four. None of those solutions are acceptable.
- Beneficial ingredients for your skin are usually the least stable. Leaving out beneficial ingredients to increase shelf life creates a product which is devoid of any nutritional value, that is of little benefit to your skin.
- Scents derived from essential oils & botanical extracts oxidise far quicker than synthetic scents, making it much easier to stabilise synthetic scents in jars. However synthetic scents can contain a cocktail of chemicals including hormone disrupting phthalates and other skin sensitizers.
- Antioxidants can help counter the effects of continual exposure to air and contaminants, however natural antioxidants can only go so far in helping. Industrial antioxidants are often used but this is not an ideal solution. The data is not quite complete on antioxidants such as BHT which is a possible carcinogen & endocrine disrupter.
- Preservatives can prevent spoilage but at a certain point, even the preservative can get overwhelmed. To prevent this, a high-strength preservative system using strong preservatives must be used. As we’ve explained in our article, “Preservatives: The double-edged sword”, preservatives are not intelligent molecules. Preservatives can not differentiate between unwanted microbial cells and our skin cells.
Regardless of these research-based facts about packaging, there remains a certain air of prestige tied to fancy, weighty jars. I guess that’s why so many brands continue to use them and given that skincare companies love to sell products, it’s a smart marketing thing for them to do—it just doesn’t make for smart skin care.
Smart packaging, just like smart skincare is a cornerstone of R10 Labs. Working with a top tier plastics supplier, we developed a high-density opaque tube to use across our skincare range, which not only is far easier to recycle but makes sure our complex formulas stay as potent and effective as possible.
The science in skincare is our ongoing series helping consumers better understand the science in skincare. We translate the science into a format that is much easier to read, bust the myths and give you a clear, transparent and honest assessment so you can make an informed choice of what goes onto your skin.
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