• happi happi.com February 2015 62
EXTRACTS, ORGANIC ACIDS, ENZYMES AND ANTIMICROBIAL PEPTIDES ALL HAVE A PLACE IN A
COSMETIC CHEMIST’S TOOLBOX, ACCORDING TO RESEARCHERS AT ACTIVE CONCEPTS.
AS THE COSMETIC and personal care marketplaces continue to respond to the demand for more natural and ecologi- cally friendly ingredients, including antimicrobial agents,
cosmetic chemists must learn to adapt to the idiosyncrasies of the
wide range of choices available today to satisfy the
consumer’s wishes. In the past, cosmetic
chemists typically approached the selection of the preservation agent for
any new formulation as more of a
reflex, rather than as an integral part
of the formulation process. Because
many formulators have not worked
extensively with natural antimicrobial
ingredients, they have not developed
the same level of comfort as they have
with traditional synthetic products. This difference in product familiarity makes it essential
to confirm formulation compatibility early
on in the product development cycle, followed by efficacy testing;
a process not all that different from the past when a new synthetic
preservative was introduced to the formulator. Even then, a comfort level had to be developed between the formulator and the new
preservative in order to know the proper formulation conditions for
Traditional synthetic preservatives like phenoxyethanol, para-ben esters, formaldehyde-releasers, methylisothiazolinone (MI) and
chloromethylisothiazolinone (CMI) have been very popular with
formulators for several reasons, including low-dose efficacy and
compatibility in a broad spectrum of personal care formulations.
These characteristics allowed formulators to reach a level of comfort
where they can now select a synthetic preservative at the very end
of the formulating process rather than evaluating the preservation
options to ensure compatibility and efficacy.
An increasing number of formulations are being created to
meet the growing demand for natural cosmetic and personal care
products. The substitution of traditional synthetic ingredients with natural ingredients of all types,
regardless of their function, requires
some re-thinking of the traditional formulation paradigm. It
is essential that adjustments be
made on the part of the formulator to successfully employ these
new efficacious, natural products.
This also holds true for the natural antimicrobial ingredients that are
available to the formulator today.
There are a number of effective natural, alternative antimicrobial agents
available to the cosmetic chemist today. One of the keys to making a
successful substitution of a traditional synthetic preservative to one
of the natural alternatives is to include its evaluation as an early and
integral part of the overall formulating process. These antimicrobial
agents should be considered early in the development of a formulation in order to better evaluate both the compatibility and efficacy
in the new formulation. This may require a fresh approach, but the
results can be very successful. In addition, consumers are rewarding these efforts by seeking and purchasing products which contain
more natural ingredient alternatives.
Just as traditional synthetic preservatives can be grouped based
on their general chemistry and function, natural antimicrobial ingredients can also be grouped into general classes based on their
Eric Schmitt and Kathleen Norris • Active Concepts
Oil derived from palm kernel contains approximately 50%
lauric acid, which has broad antibacterial properties.