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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 May;56(5):1476-9.

Type of closure prevents microbial contamination of cosmetics during consumer use.

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Department of Biology, Abilene Christian University, Texas 79699.


The dispensing closure used for containers plays an important role in protecting cosmetics from in-use microbial contamination. This hypothesis was tested by aseptically packing unpreserved shampoo and skin lotion into containers with three different closure types which provided various degrees of protection against consumer and environmental microbial insults. Shampoo was packed in containers with slit-cap (n = 25), flip-cap (n = 25), or screw-cap (n = 28) closures. Skin lotion was packed in containers with pump-top (n = 21), flip-cap (n = 18), or screw-cap (n = 21) closures. The products were then used by volunteers under actual in-use conditions for 3 (shampoo) or 2 (skin lotion) weeks. After use, the products were evaluated for microbial contamination by using standard methods for enumeration and identification. The standard screw-cap closure provided only minimal protection against microbial contamination of both the shampoo (29% contamination incidence) and the skin lotion (71%). The slit-cap closure on the shampoo container and the flip-cap closure on the skin lotion container provided slightly enhanced degrees of protection (21 and 39% contamination incidence, respectively). The greatest amount of protection (i.e., lowest contamination incidence) was provided by the flip-cap closure for the shampoo container (0%) and the pump-top closure for the skin lotion container (10%). As a result, closure type plays an important role in protecting poorly preserved products from in-use microbial contamination.

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