Study Reveals The Truth About Leucidal
Companies selling natural products are desperate to find a preservative that can extend the life of their lotions and potions. Leucidal® Liquid has been the most recent attempt to create shelf-stable cosmetics and personal care products that can be considered natural – and safe. It’s made from fermented radish root, so at first blush, it would seem to pass muster.
Contrary to popular perception, preservatives are not a way to keep products “fresh.” Rather, they need to protect against the natural growth of the wide range of molds/mildews, bacteria and yeasts that exist. In my last post, I wrote about how preservatives are designed to create a toxic environment so that these natural organisms can’t grow and take over the products we use. Broad spectrum preservatives are created to provide levels of toxicity high enough and broad enough to prevent (or kill) anything that could grow in your jars, tubes and bottles. This is important because it means protection against organisms that could also result in infections to your skin/body.
If you think about how bacteria and fungi grow in the presence of water, and considering that almost all cosmetics/toiletries are made with water (often as the first ingredient), you would have to question such a claim that one plant extract or derivative could guard against all the strains that thrive in moist, creamy environments. That’s why when Leucidal Liquid came out as a “natural” preservative I didn’t buy it, not figuratively, not literally. It just didn’t make sense. It might fend off some growth, but it was unlikely to fend off all.
I wasn’t alone in my thinking. An independent study was published in March 2015 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that tested what would appear on a product label as Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate and is manufactured under the name of Leucidal® Liquid. The researchers found:
“In summary, the antimicrobial activity of commercial Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrates (LRRFF) are attributed to salicylic acid and didecyldimethylammonium salts. Moreover, these two compounds are too deficient in 14C to be the product of recent fermentation, suggesting that they are derived from petroleum feedstock. We were unable to detect antimicrobial peptides in any sample of fermented radish root filtrate.”
Aside from salicylic itself being an estrogen mimicker with problems of its own, the researchers also stated that didecyldimethylammonium chloride (a disinfectant that was found to cause infertility and birth defects in mice) has:
"Toxicity to aquatic organisms and can also affect human health. They are known to enhance permeability of salicylic acid through animal skin, and can cause skin allergenic effects, asthma, and lung problems, as well as eye irritation."
Appallingly, on the safety sheet issued by the manufacturer there is no mention of petrochemicals. Rather it’s positioned as harmless and natural, wholesome and pure. In truth, though, not actually. They hold the patent as well, so it’s not as if they can pass the buck and say they didn’t know, which is typically how these situations are handled, and at the heart of why it continues.
Think of all the companies who bought this ingredient, or a formula with Luecidal in it, believing they were providing a natural alternative to their customers. It’s now on the market en masse, hidden in products that we thought we could trust. And that’s the problem with the industry. When the lies start at any point in the chain, the whole chain is broken. Sadly, this is business as usual in the world of manufacturing.
No wonder consumers are so fed up with this kind of maneuvering. It’s deceitful, egregious and endless. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of putting harmful chemicals in a product and lying about it, then calling it natural, companies would be better off if they were just truthful with their customers and put their efforts into educating them on the nature of natural ingredients. Namely, ingredients don't behave. You can’t have shelf-stable and inexpensive and conveniently available and natural with no chemicals without some measure of control that ensures consistency, safety, stability and integrity the product.
It's so simple. There are variables: cost, convenience, quality, authenticity. Like many things in life, you can’t have everything. I personally would rather buy from a company who tells me what is in its product – and why – (especially when those reasons are perfectly legitimate) than be lied to and as a result, be unknowingly slathering myself in chemicals that disrupt my body's natural balance - or worse.