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The topic of preservation is always of importance to formulators and finished goods marketers. Formulators are aware of the necessity to adequately preserve their products in order to ensure product safety and be in compliance with legislation. This task is made much more difficult when marketing requirements are added to the factors influencing the preservative choice. Demands such as global approval, soft preservation, “free of…”, etc have limited the number of acceptable actives. Increasing marketing pressure has resulted in an interest in reducing the amount of traditional preservatives in cosmetic formulations or in finding novel ways to keep cosmetic products microbiologically stable. It is now more important than ever that preservation or microbiological stability is an integral part of new formulation concepts. At an early stage of product development, formulators must consider all possible methods of enhancing the efficacy of traditional reservative actives, e.g. using chelating agents or multifunctional materials. There are some ingredients known in the market which can boost the efficacy of preservative actives without having their own antimicrobial effect. Chelating agents are able to enhance the efficacy of most preservatives. This occurs as the chelator removes metal ions from cell walls of the microbes. The weakened walls then allow the biocide to penetrate and destroy the microorganisms. Although the boosting effect of chelating agents on preservatives is well known, the environmental fate of these materials has been debated. To avoid the environmental discussion about chelating agents, readily biodegradable alternatives have been introduced to the market.
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September 2008
PERSONAL CARE
1
Marion Leschke, Wolfgang Siegert – Schülke & Mayr, Germany
PRESERVATIVES
The topic of preservation is always of
importance to formulators and finished
goods marketers.
Formulators are aware of the necessity
to adequately preserve their products in
order to ensure product safety and be in
compliance with legislation. This task is
made much more difficult when marketing
requirements are added to the factors
influencing the preservative choice.
Demands such as global approval, soft
preservation, “free of…”, etc have limited
the number of acceptable actives.
Increasing marketing pressure has
resulted in an interest in reducing the
amount of traditional preservatives in
cosmetic formulations or in finding novel
ways to keep cosmetic products
microbiologically stable. It is now more
important than ever that preservation or
microbiological stability is an integral part
of new formulation concepts. At an early
stage of product development, formulators
must consider all possible methods of
enhancing the efficacy of traditional
preservative actives, e.g. using chelating
agents or multifunctional materials.
There are some ingredients known in
the market which can boost the efficacy
of preservative actives without having their
own antimicrobial effect. Chelating agents
are able to enhance the efficacy of most
preservatives. This occurs as the chelator
removes metal ions from cell walls of the
microbes. The weakened walls then allow
the biocide to penetrate and destroy the
microorganisms. Although the boosting
effect of chelating agents on preservatives
is well known, the environmental fate
of these materials has been debated.
To avoid the environmental discussion
about chelating agents, readily
biodegradable alternatives have been
introduced to the market.
1
Ethylhexylglycerin – a
booster for preservatives
Ethylhexylglycerin is a globally approved,
versatile and multifunctional additive,
2,3
as
well as a very effective deodorant active.
4,5
It is a representative of the 1-alkyl glycerine
ethers. It is a high purity, colourless and
almost odourless liquid, with excellent
properties for use in cosmetic formulations.
Ethylhexylglycerin was introduced to the
cosmetic market as a skin care additive
and deodorant active (sensiva SC 50)
in 1992. As a new substance, it is listed
on the ELINCS file.
As an emollient and mild humectant,
ethylhexylglycerin improves the skin feel
of cosmetic formulations. It reliably inhibits
the growth and multiplication of odour-
causing bacteria, while at the same time
not adversely affecting the beneficial skin
flora. Additionally, it can boost the efficacy
of traditional preservatives
6,7
and act as
an antimicrobial stabiliser when used
in combination with other cosmetic
ingredients.
Ethylhexylglycerin has a surfactant-like
structure. Due to this structure,
ethylhexylglycerin affects the interfacial
tension at the cell membrane of
microorganisms, allowing some active
ingredients, such as antimicrobials and
Boosting efficacy
of preservatives
Table 1: Formulation tested in challenge test with several preservative blends.
INCI name Trade name Content
Glycerine Glycerine 85% 15.00%
Acrylate crosspolymer Carbopol ETD 2020 0.40%
Sodium hydroxide Sodium hydroxide solution, 15% aq. 0.90%
Aqua ad.100
Preservative (see Table 2 for systems used)
Table 2: Preservative systems used in challenge test.
Preservative system tested Content
Phenoxyethanol 0.9%
Phenoxyethanol/ethylhexylglycerin 0.9%/0.1%
Methylisothiazolinone 100 ppm
Methylisothiazolinone/ethylhexylglycerin 100 ppm/0.1%
Methylparaben 0.2%
Methylparaben/ethylhexylglycerin 0.2% /0.1%
Table 4: Test organisms used in this the model.
Test organisms ATCC-N˚
Escherichia coli 11229
Pseudomonas aeruginosa 15442
Staphylococcus aureus 6538
Candida albicans 10231
Aspergillus niger 6275
Table 3: Chelating agents used to show the effect on the efficacy of preservatives.
Trade name Active content INCI name
Baypure CX 100/34% 34% Tetrasodium iminodisuccinate
Dissolvine GI-38 38% Tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate
Octaquest E 30 37% Trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate
Trilon B powder 87% Tetrasodium EDTA
Reprinted from Personal Care Europe
PRESERVATIVES
2
PERSONAL CARE
September 2008
preservative actives, to penetrate more
effectively.
In order to prove the preservative
boosting effect of ethylhexylglycerin,
challenge tests have been carried out on
a carbomer gel formulation. Table 1 shows
the tested formulation. Phenoxyethanol,
methylisothiazolinone and methylparaben
have been used as preservative actives
(Table 2).
Method
Challenge tests have been performed
according to the Schülke KoKo test
method.
8,9
The Schülke KoKo test is a
repeated challenge test designed and
validated by Schülke. A mixed suspension
of Gram-positive and Gram-negative
bacteria, yeasts and moulds is used for
six inoculations at weekly intervals. Parallel
to each inoculation a sample of the tested
product is streaked out onto nutrient
media, incubated and evaluated semi-
quantitatively. The longer the time before
the occurrence of the first microbial growth,
the more effective is the preservative.
Experience has shown that a well-preserved
product should remain growth-free for six
inoculation cycles to ensure the shelf-life
required in practice (30 months in the
original packaging) (Fig. 1).
Results
Challenge test results with the single
preservative actives on one hand and
the combination of the single actives with
ethylhexylglycerin on the other are listed in
Figure 2. The results impressively show the
boosting effect of 0.1 % ethylhexylglycerin
on the preservation effect of
phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone and
methylparaben. While the single actives fail
after 2 inoculation cycles, the addition of
ethylhexylglycerin increased the efficacy
of phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone
and methylparaben sufficiently to pass
the KoKo test.
The combination of phenoxyethanol
and ethylhexylglycerin is well-described in
literature.
6,7
It is protected by patent and
commercially available under the trade
name euxyl PE 9010. The combination
with methylisothiazolinone is also protected
by patent and supplied in the market
as euxyl K 220.
Boosting preservative
efficacy with chelating
agents
While in the past there were discussions
about the environmental effect of chelating
agents, new readily biodegradable
alternatives have been developed and
tested under reproducible conditions.
Several examples of this new generation
of chelating agents have been tested vs
Figure 1: Evaluation of the microbial stability of cosmetic formulations with the Schülke KoKo test.
KoKo – Test SM 021
25 g of each material to be tested
Without
preservative
With x%
preservative
2 days exposure time
streak (see below) as sterility control
Germ spectrum
Bacteria: Moulds: Yeasts:
Gram-positive Aspergillus niger Candida albicans
Kocuria rhizophila Pencillium funiculosum
Staphylococcus aureus
Gram-negative
Enterobacter gergoviae
Escherichia coli
Klebsiella pneumoniae
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas fluorescens
Pseudomonas putida
Periodic microbiological preservation test
Weekly inoculation with 0.1 ml mixed suspension
6 weeks = 6 inoculation cycles (titre 10
8
– 10
9
cfu/ml)
Storage at +25˚C
Streak weekly before each inoculation on CS-agar and SA-agar
Incubation of the
nutrient media:
3 days at +25°C
Assessment:
Free of growth
+ Slight growth
++ Moderate growth
+++ Heavy growth
Agar plates
traditional tetrasodium EDTA regarding their
ability to increase the efficacy of cosmetic
preservatives. For the following series,
euxyl PE 9010 has been chosen as the
test preservative.
To obtain a clear differentiation
between the preservative with and without
complexing agent, the use concentration
of the preservative was selected at
the lowest effective concentration.
For the combination phenoxyethanol/
ethylhexylglycerin (euxyl PE 9010) in water
this is 0.75 %. Different chelating agents
dosed at 0.1% and 0.2% active material
have been tested (Table 3).
Method
Dilutions of the preservative and
combinations of the preservative/booster
are prepared using sterile hard water
according to the European standard
for testing chemical disinfectants and
antiseptics.
10
Worked with are 50 ml
quantities of the end solutions and these
quantities are each inoculated with
0.5 ml microorganism suspension (initial
microorganism count approx 10
8
cfu/ml)
and stirred. Table 4 shows the test
organisms used.
These solutions are streaked out onto
tryptone soya agar or sabouraud-dextrose
4% agar after 1, 3, 6, and 24 hours.
The cultures are incubated for 48 hours
at 37˚C, except for Aspergillus niger, which
is incubated for 72 hours at 25˚C–27˚C.
The evaluation is made on the basis of
semi-quantitative assessment of the
microbial growth of the streaks.
Due to the alkalinity of the complexing
agents, the final solution is adjusted to pH
7.0. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is chosen as
inorganic acid and citric acid as organic
alpha-hydroxy acid. The citrates formed
can support the chelating effect.
Results
The graphs in Figure 3 show the boosting
effect of the chelating agents on
euxyl PE 9010.
All of the complexing agents used in this
PRESERVATIVES
September 2008
PERSONAL CARE
3
test exhibit a boosting effect on the
preservative. Noticeably, tetrasodium
dicarboxymethyl glutamate in combination
with citric acid gives a substantially better
effect than can be achieved with any of
the other combinations tested. Particularly
unexpected is the good effect of
tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate in
combination with citric acid against fungi.
Practical experience
In order to transfer these results into
practical cosmetic systems, additional
Schülke KoKo tests have been conducted.
One example is presented in Figure 4.
A sun care product has been tested
containing 1.0% euxyl PE 9010 with and
without the addition of a chelating agent.
In this case 0.2% disodium EDTA
(Trilon BD) was used.
The results are very clear. While the
sun care product with euxyl PE 9010 alone
failed in the Schülke KoKo test, after
addition of the chelating agent the product
was well preserved for 6 inoculation cycles.
Conclusion
Ongoing public discussions about several
preservative actives and the increasing
demands of marketing make it now more
important than ever to find ways to boost
the efficacy of traditional preservative
actives.
Ethylhexylglycerin has been proven
to increase the efficacy of preservative
actives such as phenoxyethanol,
methylisothiazolinone or methylparaben.
Furthermore, it has been shown that
chelating agents can have an additional
boosting effect on preservative/
ethylhexylglycerin blends.
This innovative combination of
ethylhexylglycerin and chelating agent may
help to reduce the quantity of preservatives
required to adequately protect cosmetic
formulations.
PP CC
References
1 Steinberg D.C. Preservatives for Cosmetics,
Allured Publishing Corporation, 2006.
2 Eggensperger H. Multiaktive Wirkstoffe für
Kosmetika, Verlag für chemische Industrie H.
Ziolkowsky GmbH Augsburg, 1995,
141–159.
3 Beilfuß W., Siegert W. Cossma, 2003, 6,
54–55.
4 Beilfuß W. SÖFW Journal, 1998, 6, 360–366
(German).
5 Fishman H.M. Happi, 2005, Vol. 42, No. 2,
part 1 of 2, 35.
6 Beilfuß W., Weber K., Leschke M. SÖFW
Journal, 2005, 11, 30–36 (English).
7 Leschke M., Wüstermann S. SÖFW Journal,
2006, 4, 78–82 (English).
8 Weber K., Siebert J. SÖFW Journal, 2003, 6,
44–50 (English); 48–55 (German).
9 Siegert W. Cosmetic Science Technology,
2005, 189–195.
10 European Standard (CEN), Chemical
disinfectants and antiseptics.
Natural sunscreen SPF 30 Inoculation cycles
01 2 3 4 56
Without preservation +++ +++ . /.
B, Y, M B, Y, M
+ 1.0% euxyl PE 9010 +++ +++ . /.
B, Y, M B, Y, M
+ 1.0% euxyl PE 9010
+ 0.2% disodium EDTA
Legend: 0 = Sterility control = Free of microbial growth
B = Bacteria + = Slight growth
M = Moulds ++ = Moderate growth
Sp = Spore-forming bacteria +++= Massive growth
Y = Yeasts
Figure 4: Sun care product preserved with euxyl PE 9010, with and without disodium EDTA.
Carbomer gel Inoculation cycles
01 2 3 4 56
Without preservation +++ +++ . /.
B, M B, M
+ 0.1% ethylhexylglycerin +++ +++ . /.
M B, M
+ 0.9% phenoxyethanol +++ +++ . /.
B B, Y
+ 0.9% phenoxyethanol
+ 0.1% ethylhexylglycerin
+ 100 ppm methylisothiazolinone +++ +++ . /.
M B, M
+ 100 ppm methylisothiazolinone
+ 0.1% ethylhexylglycerin
+ 0.2% methylparaben +++ +++ . /.
B, Y B, Y
+ 0.2% methylparaben
+ 0.1% ethylhexylglycerin
Legend: 0 = Sterility control = Free of microbial growth
B = Bacteria + = Slight growth
M = Moulds ++ = Moderate growth
Sp = Spore-forming bacteria +++= Massive growth
Y = Yeasts
Figure 2: Schülke KoKo test results showing the preservative-boosting effect of ethylhexylglycerin.
PRESERVATIVES
4
PERSONAL CARE
September 2008
Figure 3: Test results showing the boosting effect of different chelating agents on the
antimicrobial efficacy of euxyl PE 9010.
Without preservative (growth control) 0.75% Euxyl PE 9010 (without complexing agent)
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.1% Tetrasodium EDTA
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.2% Tetrasodium EDTA
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.1% Tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.2% Tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.1% Tetrasodium iminodisuccinate
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.2% Tetrasodium iminodisuccinate
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.1% Tetrasodium ethylenediamine disuccinate
0.75% Euxyl PE 9010
+0.2% Tetrasodium ethylenediamine disuccinate
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 624 1 3 6241 3 6241 3 624
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
13 62413624136241 3624
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13 624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1362413624136241 3624
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24 1 3 6 24
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
Log germ count reduction
13624
E. coli Ps.
aeruginosa
Staph.
aureus
Candida
albicans
A. niger
13624136241 362413624
Citric acid HCI
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
hrs
euxyl
®
optimum
preservation
Schülke & Mayr GmbH
22840 Norderstedt
Tel.: (+49) 40 - 521 00 - 0
www.schuelke.com
sai@schuelke.com
euxyl® is a family of multi-component
preservative systems that makes for-
mulating simpler.
We have researched optimum blends
with a broad spectrum of ecacy
against bacteria, yeasts and moulds.
With a wide variety of easy-handling
liquid blends to choose from, there is
an euxyl® product to meet almost any
preservation need.
Let us make preservation
simple for you.
... Ethylhexylglycerin is used in cosmetics for its surfactant, emollient, mild humectant, perfume solubilizing and antimicrobial properties. Ethylhexylglycerin alone cannot preserve cosmetic products effectively but used at 1% concentration can enhance antimicrobial activity of synthetic preservatives, such as 1,2-pentanediol, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone or methylparaben [57]. Ethylhexylglycerin 0.5% (w/w) in combination with 1,2-pentanediol 3.0% (w/w) creates self-preserving formulations for leave-on cosmetics [55]. ...
... Moreover, antimicrobial efficacy of 0.5 and 1% Euxyl® PE 9010 (phenoxyethanol/ethylhexylglycerin) were comparable to efficacy of traditional preservative mixture (0.5 and 1% parabens in phenoxyethanol mixtures) for leave-on cosmetics [58]. Additionally, it has been shown that chelating agents with different doses (0.1 and 0.2%) may have an additional boosting effect on 0.75% Euxyl® PE 9010 and reduce the quantity of preservatives required to adequately protect cosmetic formulations [57]. It was also showed that 1% mixture of ethylhexylglycerin and caprylyl glycol (3:1 ratio) inhibited growth of bacteria and fungi in cosmetic emulsion [53]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This review reports cosmetic ingredients with antimicrobial activity including synthetic and natural (plant and microbial) origin as alternative for preservatives used in cosmetics as well described mechanism of their action.
Preservatives for Cosmetics
  • D C Steinberg
Steinberg D.C. Preservatives for Cosmetics, Allured Publishing Corporation, 2006.
Multiaktive Wirkstoffe für Kosmetika, Verlag für chemische Industrie H
  • H Eggensperger
Eggensperger H. Multiaktive Wirkstoffe für Kosmetika, Verlag für chemische Industrie H. Ziolkowsky GmbH Augsburg, 1995, 141-159.
  • W Beilfuß
  • K Weber
  • M Leschke
Beilfuß W., Weber K., Leschke M. SÖFW Journal, 2005, 11, 30-36 (English).
  • M Leschke
  • S Wüstermann
Leschke M., Wüstermann S. SÖFW Journal, 2006, 4, 78-82 (English).
  • W Siegert
Siegert W. Cosmetic Science Technology, 2005, 189-195.