Kokuritsu Iyakuhin Shokuhin Eisei Kenkyujo hokoku = Bulletin of National Institute of Health Sciences

[Analysis of preservatives used in cosmetic products: salicylic acid, sodium benzoate, sodium dehydroacetate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, and parabens].

PMID 21381401


Preservatives are used to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in cosmetic products. The Japanese standards for cosmetics set restrictions on the maximum amount of each preservative added to cosmetics as per the purpose of use of cosmetics. For the investigation into the actual conditions of commonly used preservatives in commercial cosmetics, we analyzed parabens, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, sodium dehydroacetate, salicylic acid, and potassium sorbate by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Twenty-one samples were obtained from cosmetic product manufacturers located in 14 prefectures in Japan. Among different acid- and salt-based preservatives, sodium benzoate was observed to have been used in many products. These acid- and salt-based preservatives were used with parabens in personal washing products, such as shampoo and soap. The labels of two of the cosmetic product samples displayed inaccurate ingredient information, that is, a preservative other than the one used in the corresponding product was listed on them. The amount of preservatives used did not exceed regulatory limits in any of the analyzed samples.