Potassium Sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, the most used food-grade preservative initially found in fruits of Sorbus and got its name from those berries. Sorbic acid is a medium chain polyunsaturated fatty acid with antiseptic properties, a natural defense of some plants' berries against bacteria and mold. The potassium salt of sorbic acid also exhibits antiseptic action and is widely used in personal care applications as a broad-spectrum preservative effective against molds and yeasts, as well as some bacteria. It is vegan approved and valuable in skin and hair care products, improving the shelf-life of applications. Potassium Sorbate works well with other preservatives enhancing overall effectiveness with a synergistic effect, and it is a perfect alternative to parabens.
Potassium Sorbate is easily metabolites in the human body like any other fatty acid oxidized completely until CO2 and water; thus, there is no toxicity or accumulation issue with this ingredient.
As potassium is a strong base and sorbic is a weak acid, in solution, it has high pH, allowing formulators to adjust pH balance in acidic formulas. In addition, Potassium Sorbate is effective as a preservative in lower pH (up to 6.5), so it should be combined with acids.