The preservation of cosmetic products has always been of special interest to the industry; microbial spoilage can lead to product degradation, and in the case of present pathogens, could contribute to a threat to the health of the consumer. In recent years the safety of many traditional preservatives has been questioned by the media and various organisations. Therefore, the cosmetics industry is looking for effective, safe, eco-friendly and sustainable, globally accepted and non-controversial solutions. Due to the current market demand, increasing efforts have been directed towards the research of ‘greener’ and milder ingredients, with favourable toxicological profiles also in the aim to reduce the irritation potential and the risk of sensitisation. To date the research is focused to the investigation of multifunctional antimicrobial agents, enabling the reduction of the number of ingredients and thus toxicological and environmental impact. In the present work, a synergistic mixture of caprylyl glycol and phenethyl alcohol, also endowed with skin emollient and fragrance properties has been investigated. This alternative preservative was found to have excellent antimicrobial activity in different cosmetic formulations whose efficacy is further increased by the addition of chelating agents.
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