Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) has been at the center of preservative controversy for as long as I’ve been in the industry.  It is marketed as a natural preservative however, it is commonly adulterated with synthetic preservatives. At Essential Wholesale we have chosen not to carry the ingredient or use it as a preservative due to the ongoing debate.  I get asked my opinion all the time regarding GSE.  My advice to everyone is to read about it and make the decision that is right for your company.

study by the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany, stated: “The antimicrobial efficacy as well as the content of preservative agents of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts were examined. Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben. In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected. Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present”.

Concerning GSE, the USDA said: “Confirming an earlier study by researchers in Germany we found that some commercial grapefruit seed extracts contain benzethonium chloride, a synthetic antimicrobial agent commonly used in cosmetics and only approved for topical use, at relatively high levels of 8%”.

According to the Swiss Toxicological Information Center: “Grapefruit seed extracts containing benzethonium chloride in concentrations of 7-11% represent a major health risk if larger amounts of a concentrated solution are ingested (i.e. by mouth). Exposure of the skin or the eye may cause toxic symptoms. The Swiss Toxicological Information Center discourages consumers from administration of these extracts unless it is known which of them are containing benzethonium chloride and what the concentrations are”.

Author

Doug Schoon is an internationally-recognized scientist, author and educator with over 30 years experience in the cosmetic, beauty and personal care industry. He is a leading industry authority, known for his technical and regulatory work that has helped shape the beauty industry. He is Co-Chair of the Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC), and as Creative Nail Design’s (CND) Chief Scientist, was head of the R&D laboratory, QA, and Field Testing/Evaluation departments for almost 20 years. Schoon has authored several books, video and audio training programs, as well as dozens of magazine articles about salon products, safety, and best practices for salon professionals. Schoon is well known for his captivating presentation style and his unique ability to make complex concepts easy to understand. In 1986, Schoon founded Chemical Awareness Training Service (CATS) – the beauty industry’s first safety training company. This was followed by his book, Nail Structure & Product Chemistry, 1st and 2nd Edition, which has become essential reading for nail salon pros. Schoon is a chief contributor to Milady’s Standard Nail Technology and Standard Cosmetology, as well as several medical reference books such as Baran and Maibach’s Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology and Cosmetic Dermatology: A Comprehensive Medical and Surgical Text. Schoon serves as an expert witness in legal cases, and doctors, dermatologists and podiatrists often consult Schoon when writing articles, books or scientific papers. He has worked as a scientific researcher, author and lecturer for almost 35 years and holds a Masters Degree in Chemistry from UC-Irvine. He currently resides in Dana Point, CA. Overview Industry Experience President, Schoon Scientific + Regulatory Consulting, LLC (2007- present) Co-Chair, Nail Manufacturer’s Council (NMC) (2003-present) V.P., Science & Technology – CND (Creative Nail Design, Inc.(1987-2007) Executive Director/Founder of Chemical Awareness Training Service (1986-89) World renowned expert; considered a leading scientist in the field Works with state, federal and international regulators to develop beauty industry related standards and regulations. Experienced working with EU and Japanese cosmetic regulatory agencies and many domestic and international trade associations Experienced working with activist groups to address industry issues Over thirty years experience as a researcher, lecturer, author and educator Regularly writes articles and makes contributions to several domestic and international beauty trade magazines Author of science and safety books for beauty professionals, including the industry standard, “Nail Structure & Product Chemistry“, Second Edition, 2005 Contributing author to many educational books used in beauty schools Contributing author to several medical texts used by dermatologists and doctors Bachelors Degree Chemistry, Cal State University- Long Beach, CA (1982) Masters of Science Degree in Chemistry, University of California-Irvine (1984)

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