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Indian J Microbiol. 2013 Jun;53(2):232-7. doi: 10.1007/s12088-012-0329-0. Epub 2012 Nov 3.

Essential oils and herbal extracts as antimicrobial agents in cosmetic emulsion.

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Academy of Cosmetics and Health Care, Podwale 13 Street, 00-252 Warsaw, Poland.
The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jabłonna, Poland.
Departament of Medical Microbiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.


The cosmetic industry adapts to the needs of consumers seeking to limit the use of preservatives and develop of preservative-free or self-preserving cosmetics, where preservatives are replaced by raw materials of plant origin. The aim of study was a comparison of the antimicrobial activity of extracts (Matricaria chamomilla, Aloe vera, Calendula officinalis) and essential oils (Lavandulla officinallis, Melaleuca alternifolia, Cinnamomum zeylanicum) with methylparaben. Extracts (2.5 %), essential oils (2.5 %) and methylparaben (0.4 %) were tested against Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213, Candida albicans ATCC 14053. Essentials oils showed higher inhibitory activity against tested microorganism strain than extracts and methylparaben. Depending on tested microorganism strain, all tested extracts and essential oils show antimicrobial activity 0.8-1.7 and 1-3.5 times stronger than methylparaben, respectively. This shows that tested extracts and essential oils could replace use of methylparaben, at the same time giving a guarantee of microbiological purity of the cosmetic under its use and storage.


Antimicrobial activity; Essential oils; Herbal extracts; Methylparaben

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