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Cosmetic Ingredients Report By ACTIVON Lab Vol. 02

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

The demand for natural preservatives

Cosmetic products become easily contaminated by bacteria and fungi because they contain water, oils, glycerin, sorbitol, protein and nutrients for microorganisms easily to grow and flourish. So cosmetic products need preservatives to prevent microbial growth, spoiling of the cosmetic product and potential skin infections.1),2)

Preservatives have potent antimicrobial properties preventing cosmetic products effectively from spoiling and prolonging the shelf-life. Paraben has widely used as cosmetic preservatives before. But it is not used in Korean cosmetics recently because it was reported that the potential side effects such as causing skin allergy, the possibility of endocrine disturbance, and the problem of inducing resistant bacteria. Nowadays most of consumers prefer natural cosmetics to synthetic cosmetics. So the demand for various natural preservatives has been increasing in cosmetic products. But it is difficult to use natural preservatives due to discoloration, the change of odor, instability, narrow antimicrobial spectrum, problems about cosmetic formulation, and high price so on.

ACTIVON Co., Ltd. has been developing natural alternative preservatives as well as synthetic alternative preservatives, producing and selling natural propanediol (trade name : Activonol-3) and natural pentylene glycol(trade name : Activonol-5N). This time, I want to introduce our new product, Activonol Green-GCP. It is natural alternative preservatives certified by COSMOS and the complex product of 100% natural origin.

The antimicrobial effect of

Activonol Green-GCP

1. The MIC test for Activonol Green-GCP

To check the antimicrobial activity of Activonol Green-GCP, we conducted MIC(Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) test using bacteria(Gram(+) and Gram(-) bacteria), yeast and mold.

Serial dilutions of Activonol Green-GCP(0.01%~20%) are made in a liquid microbial growth medium, and inoculated with a standardized number of organisms(106/ml of bacteria, 105/ml of yeast and mold) for 24hr or 48hr. The lowest concentration of test agent preventing appearance of turbidity (growth) is considered to be the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Fig.1 shows that the grade of antimicrobial activity as follows,

- : no antimicrobial activity + : moderate antimicrobial activity

++ : good antimicrobial activity +++: excellent antimicrobial activity

Fig.1 shows that Activonol Green-GCP has broad antimicrobial spectrum against both bacteria and fungi.

Fig 1. The antimicrobial activity of Activonol Green-GCP

2. The challenge test of Activonol Green-GCP

We evaluated the preservation efficacy of 1.2% Activonol Green-GCP(emulsion type) according to Personal Care Products Council Technical Guidelines(formerly Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association – CTFA).3)

The microorganisms counted and the quantities of the inoculum were demonstrated as follows, 1.1 x 106cfu/ml of bacteria and 4.8 x 105cfu/ml of yeast and mold. The sample quantity is 25g.

We incubated bacteria(Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) at 30~32℃, yeast(Candida albicans) and mold(Aspergillus brasiliensis) at 25℃ individually. And then we checked the number of living microorganism in the cosmetic sample on 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, 28 days after microorganism inoculation.

1,2% of Activonol Green-GCP has good preservation efficacy as shown Fig.2.

Fig. 2. The results of preservation efficacy test for 1.2% Activonol Green-GCP

And 1.2%~1.8% of Activonol Green-GCP were also tested in various types of cosmetic formulation such as mask sheet, mask gel. cream and shampoo.

Fig.3 shows that Activonol Green-GCP has good preservation effect, so it can be applied in various types of cosmetic products.

Fig 3. The results of preservation efficacy test in various types of cosmetic formulation containing Activonol Green-GCP

The skin safety test for Activonol Green-GCP

To verify the skin safety of Activonol Green-GCP, IEC Korea Co., Ltd. clinical research company, conducted the single patch test of the facial mask sheet formulation containing 2.0% of Activonol Green-GCP.

33 female adult subjects were included for the data analysis with the age range of 20 to 60 years old. The application of investigational product was performed on the back, between the hips and the shoulders, free from any macroscopic trace of irritation or from any abnormality(scars, freckles, and so on.) The patches were applied to the back of the subjects for 24 hours. Grading was performed at 30±5 min(D1) and 24±3 hours(D2) after patch removal, to the naked eye and with a magnifying glass. The cutaneous reactions on each area and for each subject were evaluated according to the defined numerical scale as follows ; no response(0), slightly erythema on at least 3/4 of the application area(1), moderate erythema or slightly edema(2), strong erythema, slightly edema(3), severe response with edema, vesicles and pustules(4).4) The calculation of Primary Cutaneous Irritation Index(P.C.I.) for D1 and D2 allowed determining the product compatibility to the skin. This study was conducted under dermatologist responsibility.

No reaction of pathological irritation signifying cutaneous intolerance was noted. Also, no secondary effect was observed.

In conclusion, from the result obtained under the single application to the back skin through occlusive patch for 24 hours by 33 female adult subjects, the facial mask sheet formulation with 2.0% of Activonol Green-GCP was considered as “No irritant”. As shown Fig. 4.

Fig 4. The result of Human Skin Patch Test

Activonol Green-GCP, 100% Natural alternative preservative

Activonol Green-GCP has a broad, balanced antimicrobial spectrum against bacteria and fungi at 1.2 ~ 1.8% dosage. And it can be applied to various cosmetic products such as shampoo, cream, gel, and facial mask sheet. Also, the facial mask sheet formulation with 2.0% of Activonol Green-GCP was considered as “No irritant”. Therefore, Activonol Green-GCP is a safe and natural alternative preservative.

- Trade name : Activonol Green-GCP

- INCI name : Glyceryl caprylate, Glyceryl undecylenate, Pentylene glycol

- Recommended concentration : 1.2 ~1.8%

- Activonol Green-GCP, certified COSMOS, is complex product of 100% natural origin.

- Patent application number (Korea) : KR19-74117

- Patent application number (PCT): PCT/KR2019/018672


1) Jung-Eun Ku, The Recent Trend of the Natural Preservative Used in Cosmetics. Kor. J. Aesthet. Cosmetol., Vol. 11 No. 5, 835-844, October 2013

2) Smith CN, Alexander BR. Toxicology in Vitro . 19: 963969. 2005.

3) Personal Care Products Council Technical Guidelines 2018 Edition

4) Basketter DA, The classification of skin irritations by human patch test. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 1997, 35, 845-852.

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