Simply speaking a preservative is a chemical substance that helps to preserve various organic substances, including foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals, biological samples, paints, woods and so on, from decomposing or fermentation due to undesirable chemical changes in them.

Normally, there are two ways of preserving things - physical and chemical. Usually, most people combine the physical preservation and chemical preservatives to keep things viable. Physical preservation involves drying out things and/ or storing them in a refrigerator. Dehydration, freeze-drying, UV-C radiation and refrigeration are among the various techniques of physical preservation.

On the other hand, chemical preservation involves adding chemical substances to products that you want to preserve. Chemical preservation is implemented for foods, cosmetics as well as several other products. Adding chemical preservatives to foods reduces the chances of them being infected, lessen microbial spoilage and, at the same time, help to preserve the fresh qualities and nutritional value of the foods.

Have you ever given a thought to the fact that why people prefer products containing natural preservatives than purchasing products with synthetic or chemical preservatives? Now, people are becoming more and more aware of the fact that the synthetic ingredients in various foods, cosmetics, drugs and other things are detrimental for their health. This realization has come after they have suffered the harmful effects of such artificial substances. According to a rough estimate, most of us apply as many as 200 chemical substances to our body every day. Just pause and consider the different medications, moisturizers, lotions and several other skin care products that you apply every day and you will be shocked. Some of these are applied to the skin for it to absorb, exposing our skin as well as the internal organs to damage.

In addition, you may also think of the several products, which you use to clean, such as a soap, shampoo, or shower gel. These products require less amount or number of preservatives compared to those that are left on your body. What is worse is that the longer they remain on your skin, the greater the harm to your skin. Hence, it is important to wash them off at the earliest. In fact, the skin often completely absorbs a number of preservatives used in such products. Subsequently, they are carried by the blood to various parts of your body.

There is another problem with these preservatives - they build up inside the stratum corneum, the external stratum of the epidermis. The main function of the stratum corneum is to shield the skin from any harm. In case any of these preservatives are toxic, they will eliminate the beneficial bacteria present on our skin.

A section of people may put forth the argument that adding artificial chemical preservatives to products is necessary to ensure that their quality remains high and they don't decompose early. However, it does not make any sense when one claims that adding potent synthetic preservatives to cosmetics makes them safe for use. This theory is completely baseless. At the same time, the policy of some companies to use synthetic as well as natural preservatives to their products also does not make any sense. In fact, the chemicals contained in the artificial preservatives can destroy the benefits that one would get from natural preservatives in those products.

The good news is that a number of companies have already started using natural preservatives in their products owing to the controversies associated with synthetic chemical preservatives. This way they are not only offering healthy products, but also ensuring that their products' shelf life is augmented. However, not all natural preservatives are as good as they may seem to be. This is all the more true when they are used in excess. Nevertheless, natural preservatives are never toxic like the synthetic ones. While using no preservative is the best option, the fact is that most products do not remain viable after a certain period, if preservatives are not used.

In fact, there are several natural ways by which you can diminish microbial activities in various products. One such way is to use essential oils in the products. Antioxidants help to retain the oils in the products and prevent them from being rancid when they are exposed to air or light. They also prevent the products from decomposition and becoming vulnerable to various contaminants. While it is not possible to completely stop the products from becoming rancour and spoilt, antioxidants possess the aptitude to retard this process.

Antioxidants as well as essential oils are 100 percent natural ingredients. As the word "antioxidant" implies, they comprise substances like vitamin C, vitamin E and/ or carotene, which are effective in protecting the cells from the detrimental effects of oxidation. Similarly, essential oils are also useful. Basically, they are potent antiseptics that get rid of most of the detrimental microbes like bacteria and fungi and do not have any harmful effects on our system. All essential oils are obtained from plants, grasses, leaves and flowers. The antiseptic properties of essential oils were discovered in France when a cholera epidemic broke out in the European nation. During this period, apparently employees in perfume factories were almost completely immune to the deadly disease, even as the remaining population in the country continued to perish.

Hence, it is very important to choose and purchase the products you use very carefully. Some products that are marketed as "natural" products may contain substances that are actually toxic. Before you purchase any product, whether it is a food or skin care product, examine the label carefully and always avoid products containing chemicals like formaldehyde, hexachlorophene, propyl paraben and methyl. It is worth mentioning here that Elma skin care products do not contain any synthetic preservatives, steroids or parabens. These products only contain natural ingredients that are not only safe for use by humans, but also do not have any adverse side effects.

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