benzoic acid and citric acid

Hello,  I recently bought a base lotion that I intend on selling from my etsy shop. All I have to do is add the essential oils. It's made from a well-known company that supplies wholesale products. My concern is that it contains benzoic acid and citric acid. I have read numerous articles stating that benzoic acid combined with vitamin C can create benzene, a known carcinogen. Would citric acid also be a problem? I am afraid to use this lotion. If anyone knows the answer.  I am not a chemist.
sincerely,
Patricia

Comments

  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Could benzoic acid combine with vitamin C to create benzene in your base lotion? It is barely possible

    http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk/do-sodium-benzoate-and-vitamin-c-react-to-form-carcinogenic-benzene/

    But - here's the question. Is the minuscule amount of benzene that is potentially in your lotion enough to be worried about? As Colin correctly points out, you are exposed to far more benzene each time you fill your car with gas than you ever would be exposed to benzene in your skin cream. 

    The other point I'll make is that making and using cosmetics involve trade-offs.There are NO preservatives in cosmetics that are perfectly safe. None. But...using unpreserved cosmetics is extremely dangerous - and selling unpreserved cosmetics is extremely illegal - go-to-jail level illegal. The folks selling cosmetics as "preservative-free" are playing tricks - they are using chemicals that act like preservatives, but that can technically be called something else.

    Hopefully, I've made the point that you need to have preservatives in your cosmetics. Now you have to choose which ones. You will need to consider the risks, and the benefits, involved with each one - and then see if you can buy a lotion base that uses the ones you prefer.


    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    vitamin C can reduce benzoic acid to benzene in the presence of soluble iron

    without soluble iron, vitamin C is simply not powerful enough to do this on its own (if it were, it would be on every banned list in the world!)

    if the base lotion has been made with deionised water, the amount of soluble iron - hence, the chance of this reaction occurring - is negligible

    and with citric acid, there is even less possibility of this occurring, because unlike vitamin C, citric acid cannot act as a reducing agent

    hope this helps!
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    You may quite likely find that adding essential oils to a commercial cream will cause it to separate.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Thanks for your help re the benzene question. All of my lotions are made in a lab and have preservatives. I make my own anhydrous body butters and I am told that it doesn't need preservatives but I am wondering if I should use something anyway if I am going to sell these products. I use antioxidants like vitamin c and elderberry oil. I know that these aren't preservatives. Because people take out the body butter with their fingers, even though it is made with just oils and butters, should a preservative be added? I don't want to cause any harm to anyone and of course I don't want to get sued.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    I would put preservatives in even an anhydrous product. I think that the dangers of being sued for not having a preservative are far greater than the danger of being sued because someone has a problem with the preservative you used.

    Here's another take on the benzene issue:
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • thank you Bob for your input.
    Trish
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