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Radish root - alternative to phenoxyethanol and paraben preservatives

Reviewed by Marta October 1, 2011 28 Comments
A new brand – I should more accurately say, a new brand to me – reached out to us here at Truth In Aging and straight away I had a hunch that I was going to find it interesting. Sevani focuses on natural ingredients and anti-aging peptides and I will be testing their products in the coming weeks (we have enough to share, so watch out for a Dare To Try it in an upcoming newsletter). When browsing through Sevani's ingredients I immediately alighted on radish. What jumped out at me is that radish root is being used by Sevani as the sole preservative and when I did some digging into it I found that it comes with an interesting back story.

Apparently, it all started with avian flu. During the SARS epidemic, researchers in Korea found out that chickens fed kimchi had a better rate of recovery than those fed standard poultry feed. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables. And it seems that the ferment is a powerful anti-microbial.

Then – connecting the dots in a way that I really like – a company called Active Micro Systems reasoned that beauty product consumers are turned off by parabens, phenoxyethanol and other potentially harmful preservatives and that fermented vegetables could provide an alternative. So they added leuconostoc (the same bacteria used in kimchi) to radish roots and left it to ferment.  The next job was to isolate the peptide with the antimicrobial activity.

The resulting ingredient, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, seems to do a good job at 05%-2% concentrations against a whole range of tiny nasties from e.coli to a.niger and it is recommended that it can be used as the sole preservative in a cosmetic.

Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate crops up in a couple of mainstream beauty products such as  Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For and Elizabeth Arden Prevage Body. Although Elizabeth Arden completely defeats the object by hedging its bets by adding most parabens known to man and several other preservatives including phenoxyethanol.

Another natural preservative from AMS is made from aspen bark extract, from the quaking aspen tree found North America. Apparently, the bark is rich in salicylates that function as a defensive mechanism against invading parasites.
  • June 15, 2016

    by Kristina

    Here's the link to the updated CEN article (saying leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate turned out NOT to be responsible for the Badger recall):

  • June 14, 2016

    by Kristina

    As of June 2014, the Chemical & Engineering website's article, 'Close Scrutiny of Cosmetics,' was updated. Turns out that it was NOT leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, but Arborcide OC that Badger Company used in the products that were recalled. Good to know.

  • April 8, 2016

    by Camille

    Poofy Supernaturals - also uses Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate in their hand lotions I am happy to say.

  • June 30, 2015

    by Mairi

    I have concerns over the use of this preservative - are you aware that Badger had to recall some of it suncreams containing this ingredient in 2013?

  • May 7, 2012

    by Frann

    Hi everyone, I just jumped on board while looking for natural preservatives. Does this Leucidal really work?? I'm a newbee at making lotions and have been using: potassium sorbate, citric acid and cinnamon, along with green tea and either vit e or rosemary antioxidant oil. I'm still learning but have been selling to friends and co-workers for their feed back and they love my lotions. They have been lasting at least 2-3 months out of the refrigerator. How long of a shelf life will Leucidal give??

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