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Our Stance on Preservatives

By Alyssa Shapiro

There are endless questions out in the ether in the category of skincare—and they’re all good questions! Effective product formulation can be complicated. Youth To The People’s formulation philosophy, however, is really clear: our formulas blend powerful plant-based superfood extracts with pro-grade vegan clinical active ingredients, and our products are made with your skin health—and the health of the planet—in mind. That means the ingredients we choose have been selected for good reason; they all serve a purpose, and they’re safe for you and Mother Earth. That includes the preservatives we use.

“We use preservatives at really safe levels that are clinically proven to work and not be toxic,” says Laura Cline, YTTP’s Director of Education. But why use preservatives in the first place? 

Cline’s explanation: “Because if you don't put preservatives in skincare products that contain water, “they will grow bacteria, yeast, mold, really any kind of pathogens, because that's just what water does. Water is life, right?” Point taken.

Preservatives are essential for product stability, which is why you’ll find the preservative called phenoxyethanol on our ingredients list.

“If we find another preservative that would work just as well, we're always willing and open to change,” says Cline. For now, though, trust that our team is dedicated to creating products that contain optimal clinical percentages—that includes our actives of course, but also the preservatives we use to keep our formulas shelf-stable. When it comes to safety, it’s the percentage of phenoxyethanol that appears in a product that’s important, and we use less than 1%, an FDA-approved amount. Sometimes, particularly in the case of our Superfood family products, it’s less than a half a percentage as this is paired with a food-grade preservative called potassium sorbate.

Moral of the story: products that contain water require preservatives, because again, water is life.

“I always refer to it like finding life on Mars,” says Cline. “Like, why do we think there is life there? It’s because we found water.”