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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2000 Oct;22(5):341-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2494.2000.00063.x.

Antibacterial lotion testing: a practical approach to demonstrate the antibacterial efficacy of a triclosan-containing leave-on moisturizer.

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Unilever Home and Personal Care Co, Skin Care Research & Development, 40 Merritt Blvd, Trumbull, CT 06770, U.S.A.


Ordinary hand washing is well regarded as the primary means of removing bacteria from the hands. Because typical daily hand washings are not always thorough, antibacterial wash products provide an extra measure of protection by depositing a residual antibacterial agent to the skin that persists after washing. However, a more direct means of delivering antibacterial agents to the skin could be through a leave-on hand lotion. This paper describes testing which demonstrated that triclosan, a common antibacterial ingredient when administered in an oil-in-water anionic emulsion, was substantive to skin and effective against bacteria in both laboratory settings and in the normal daily environment. In vitro and in vivo methods were used to demonstrate the antibacterial lotion's spectrum of activity, substantivity on skin, persistence of activity, activity vs. resident flora and overall activity in practical use. The work established that a leave-on lotion was a suitable vehicle for the delivery of an antibacterial active ingredient to skin and that the actives delivered from a leave-on lotion were effective in use. Although it is recognized that antibacterial lotions are not a substitute for thorough hand washing and good hygienic practices, this work shows that antibacterial lotions can complement washing by providing consumers with a demonstrable reduction in bacterial levels on their skin. Furthermore, the work shows that the methods described could effectively quantify the antibacterial effects of a leave-on lotion both in the laboratory and in actual use.

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