Sugar & Salt - Preservatives from Mother Nature

Clean Beauty Swiss scrubs have no preservatives, conservatives or any other additives. Nothing.

I am often asked how I can guarantee that Clean Beauty Swiss scrubs are not going to spoil or grow mold and bacteria. So, let me explain.

As I said in last week’s blog post, most beauty products – up to 85% of them – use parabens as a preservative to protect them from mold and bacteria growth. As I began researching a conserving solution for my all natural scrubs I was so frustrated. I was determined to create a product that would be all natural and that every woman could use without worrying about the effects on her health.

I searched everywhere – I think I found every all natural, green beauty website and searched for a natural, 100% safe alternative to parabens. There are several possibilities, but the 100% safe part always created problems for me. After weeks of researching the suggested natural preservative, finding a supplier, playing around with the percentage needed etc. I would stumble upon my most dreaded sentence: this product has not been shown to cause cancer… my ‘record scratch’ moment! UGH, not at all the same thing as saying a product is safe.

Unfortunately, this is the standard in the beauty industry. Products tend to be considered safe until proven otherwise. Until an additive is proven to cause problems – which in many cases may take years and years, they are deemed safe to use. As in the previously mentioned case of parabens – if you use 1 product with parabens there is no danger.  Companies have to show that their single particular product causes no harm. The danger comes from the fact that basically every single personal care product has parabens.

I wanted to create a different product. I wanted to be certain that a pregnant woman, someone with skin allergies or compromised immune system could safely use my scrubs…. Basically I didn’t want to have to add an asterisk to my product labels.

And then I had my aha moment! While watching a Mark Wahlberg movie, Shooter, he gets shot but can’t go to the hospital. He finds a gas station, and buys sugar… he disinfected his wound with sugar! I realized in that moment, I had been making scrubs for over 30 years with either sugar or salt and I had never, ever had a problem with mold or bacteria even if the scrub had not been used in a long time.

So, I began researching the use of sugar and salt as preservatives and how they prevent mold and bacteria.

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Salt (Sodium Chloride) has been used for thousands of years as a preservative for food (bacalà for example) and as a disinfectant for wounds. Salt was used by ancient Egyptians to heal wounds.  It is believed that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was one of the first to truly understand the antibacterial power of salt. More than 2,000 years ago his writings indicate that the Ancient Greeks used salt to treat wounds, respiratory problems and digestive problems.

So, what exactly does salt do? It inhibits the growth and multiplication of bacteria by reducing the amount of water present. Bacteria and mold need water to live and grow. Through osmosis salt removes the water molecules that help them flourish essentially starving the bacteria and killing it.


As long as 4,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians treated wounded soldiers by creating a sugar paste to dress the wounds.  This cure had been used by healers until modern medicine replaced it with antibiotics. Doctors today are revisiting this cure as a valid alternative to antibiotics.

There is a sector of research that is even looking at sugar molecules as an antiviral medication. In fact, Swiss and British researchers have been able to modify sugar molecules so that they are capable of even destroying viruses… it is even being evaluated as a possible solution for our current Coronavirus dilemma.

Sugar works in much the same way as salt. Where salt draws the water out of the molecules, sugar binds to water molecules essentially starving bacterial enzymes and prohibiting their multiplication.

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Clean Beauty Swiss scrubs are made from either sugar or salt. All of our scrubs are made with coconut oil which has its own antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. There is no need to add anything else. That’s the Clean Beauty Swiss philosophy in a nut shell, to use the best natural ingredients and let their natural properties and characteristics work for us. There are no unneeded ingredients in our scrubs – just the gifts Mother Nature has given to us, used with the greatest respect.