Find A Formula For The Mass Remaining After T Days Why We Won’t Use Neem Oil As a Natural Preservative

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Why We Won’t Use Neem Oil As a Natural Preservative

Neem oil is a natural product derived from the seeds and fruit of the evergreen neem tree. It is used in over a hundred pesticide products and has important applications in organic farming and pharmaceuticals. It has been used as an insecticide for hundreds of years and is considered safe (1).

Nowadays, neem oil is touted as a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives.

Neem oil is a mixture of components and not a pure essential oil. Azadirachtin is the active ingredient responsible for repelling and killing insects. The remaining components include fatty acids, essential oils and other substances. Neem oil components can also be found in other products such as toothpaste, cosmetics, soaps, pet shampoos, supplements and medications.

Natural preservatives

Most cosmetics contain water as an ingredient (to emulsify); Therefore, preservatives are needed to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth.

If you’ve purchased an all-natural, preservative-free beauty product like a face cream and noticed a “funky smell” before you’ve completely used it, it means the product has gone bad (ie, contaminated with yeast, mold, bacteria, or fungus. ). Unfortunately, these products produce natural sugars in a moist environment – the perfect breeding ground (complete with food source) for microorganisms to multiply. A product can look and smell good and still be contaminated. If the product is truly all-natural and preservative-free, it needs to be treated like food: made fresh in small batches and refrigerated (and remember, they will expire).

Products made with natural preservatives have a slightly better shelf life if used within 30 days of opening, but you may want to ask this question: How much better are natural preservatives versus synthetic preservatives at controlling and killing any invaders for your safety? Product (and you)? Therefore, while there are effective, naturally derived preservatives, some may be weakened by exposure to air and water and thus may not provide the same broad-spectrum protection as synthetic preservatives.

Neem oil as a natural preservative

When neem oil is used as a preservative, it acts as an antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic. Sounds great, right? And it’s used as an insecticide so it must be effective, right? (Although I suspect the argument works in favor of synthetic preservatives!) Neem oil is effective at keeping oils from thickening, but it also doesn’t protect the product from bacteria and yeast because it’s not a broad-spectrum preservative. And doesn’t like water either. Bad news for tech managers and natural health promoters who want to use neem oil as a preservative in water-based cosmetics instead of the more effective (and therefore safer) synthetic preservatives available for this purpose, such as Neolon 950. To kill all common pathogens. (See http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/06/why-cosmetics-need-preservatives/ for an excellent article on this topic.)

The half-life of neem oil in water is between one hour and four days. “Half-life” means the concentration decreases by 50% in the measured time frame. If we take one day as the half-life of neem oil in water, with a reasonable average of the given range, we will see that the active concentration decreases to 50% in one day, 25% in two days, 12.5% ​​in three days. , 6% in four days, 3% in five days and so on. By the time the product reaches the consumer from the day it is produced, neem oil will essentially completely decompose and be of no use as a preservative. Therefore, water-based products containing neem oil as the sole preservative are not protected from contamination (which pose a greater risk to your health than synthetic preservatives).

Consumers should be more aware of the sometimes misleading advice given by consumer protection groups, especially the Safe Cosmetics and Environmental Working Group (and their skin-deep database). We need to question these groups as critically as we question big industry in order to open a dialogue. I don’t know why these groups hold it as the final authority. Is it because they validate our fears and suspicions of evil corporations? I don’t know, that’s just a guess. Although their intentions may be good, they often rely heavily on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) – which are usually publicly available – as one of their sources. MSDS are useful, of course; However, people either forget or are unaware that MSDSs provide safety procedures for workers in industrial environments to follow in the event of a large spill/exposure: these are “worst case” scenarios that do not apply to consumers of these products.

MSDSs are used to help set product storage and occupational safety and health guidelines for workers and emergency personnel who handle or work with substances in large quantities. They are not intended for consumers, but only for those in a professional setting. It’s important to remember this when considering the safety issues of the products you’re using: “The dose makes the poison,” or, in this case, says preservative expert David Steinberg, “Remember, preservatives are safer than bacteria (TM).”

Back to the neem oil. An organic chemist like myself will look at the chemical structure of azadirachtin, the active ingredient in neem oil, and realize that it is not stable in water, as we discussed earlier, but it breaks down easily. Reacts with water into small, useless pieces. Although most of us are not organic chemists, this is easy enough to understand.

Neem oil is also hydrophobic, meaning that the molecules are repelled by water masses. Therefore, certain surfactants must be added to allow water and neem oil to mix together (emulsify). And, sure enough, when you check the pesticide/agricultural literature, you find that the diluted product must be used immediately because of its limited shelf life. But not all products containing neem oil carry this disclaimer. It is important to note that some products containing neem oil remain “stable”. However, the product still loses its neem oil activity; It continues to provide insecticidal activity based solely on the other antimicrobials in the formulation.

I don’t think anyone (cosmetic manufacturers, natural product suppliers, green retailers, etc.,) is trying to deceive the consumer. It is more likely an issue of awareness (lack thereof). Unfortunately, this type of misinformation puts the health of many customers at risk.

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