A recent article in the New York Times explains the pitfalls of packaging anti-aging creams in jars—and why airless packaging designs may be a better choice.
Although many consumers prefer the luxurious look and feel of jars, some professionals say that bacteria from fingers and the air can easily contaminant the product in this type of packaging. Skincare company Dermalogica does not use jars for this reason, according to Diana Howard, the company’s Vice President for Research and Development.
Founder of Beautypedia.com Paula Begoun said she dislikes jar packaging because ingredients in anti-aging creams—like retinol and other antioxidants—break down when exposed to air and light. “Anything you can do to reduce the vulnerability of these ingredients by keeping them as much as possible out of the air and light means that the ingredients that you’re banking on to improve your skin will be there after you open the product,” Begoun said.
Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, said that none of the retinoids she prescribes come in jars. “If you’re looking for maximum efficacy from anti-aging ingredients, it’s probably best to use something like an airless pump,” Hale said.
Marie Redding, the associate editor of Beauty Packaging Magazine, thinks that jars are safe to use, but still prefers airless packages. “Plus, for a product that contains more natural ingredients and less preservatives, which I am always looking for as a consumer, an airless package is essential,” she said.
According to data from market research firm Euromonitor, sales of anti-aging cosmetics in plastic jars dropped 6.8 percent in the US from 2009 to 2014, while sales of these products in plastic tubes grew 14.3 percent.