• Sasithorn Sirilun Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai-50200, Thailand
  • Chaiyavat Chaiyasut Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai-50200, Thailand
  • Bhagavathi Sundaram Sivamaruthi Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai-50200, Thailand
  • Sartjin Peerajan Health Innovation Institute, Chiang Mai-50200, Thailand.
  • Naphatsorn Kumar School of Cosmetic Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai-57100, Thailand
  • PERIYANAINA KESIKA Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai -50200


Objective: Preservatives are used in the cosmetic products to protect the potential growth of microbes, therefore to prolong the shelf-life of products and to protect the consumer from infections. However several preservatives can cause various health problems, and the safety profiles of those preservatives are still unclear. Many natural substances are used in the cosmetic products to substitute the traditional preservatives. The present study deals with the evaluation of conservative nature of phenethyl alcohol (PEA) in three cosmetic formulations (emulsion, cleansing, and conditioner).

Methods: Three different concentration of PEA (0.3, 1, and 2.5 %) were used in cosmetic formulations. The physical appearance of the formulas was assessed manually, and the antimicrobial nature of PEA and PEA-containing cosmetic formulations were evaluated by agar well plate assay.

Results: The use of PEA has not affected the physical appearance, and quality of the formulations, except the high concentration of PEA in the cleansing solution, which reduced the foam formation. The minimal required concentration of PEA in emulsions and cleansings were 1.0% and 2.5% in the conditioners. All cosmetic preparations were subjected to antibacterial and antifungal evaluation. The alkaline pH (> 8) affected the antimicrobial activity of PEA in a cosmetic product.

Conclusion: The results suggested that PEA is a potent non-traditional preservative for the cosmetic formulations especially in the emulsion, cleansing solutions, and conditioners.
Keywords: Cosmetic, Phenethyl alcohol, Preservative, Self-preserving cosmetic.


1. Varvaresou A, Papageorgiou S, Tsirivas E, Protopapa E, Kintziou H, Kefala V, et al. Self-preserving cosmetics. Int J Cosmet Sci 2009;31(3):163-75.
2. Siquet F, Devleeschouwer MJ. Antibacterial agents and preservatives. In: Andre OB, Marc P, Howard IM, editors. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology. USA: Marcel Dekker; 2001. p. 245-51.
3. Darbre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS. Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol 2004;24(1):5-13.
4. Steinberg DC. Back to basics: So you want to preserve your emulsion. J Cosmet Sci 2007;58(5):574-5.5. Rojas J, Londono C, Ciro Y. The health benefits of natural skin UV-A photoprotective compounds found in botanical sources. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8(3):13-23.
6. Patel I, Talathi A. Use of traditional Indian herbs for the formulation of shampoo and their comparative analysis. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8(3):28-32.
7. The Flavor and Fragrance High Production Volume Chemical Consortia. The Aromatic Consortium. Washington, DC: Test Plan for Phenethyl Alcohol; 2002.
8. Lilley BD, Brewer JH. The selective antibacterial action of phenylethyl alcohol. J Am Pharm Assoc Am Pharm Assoc 1953;42(1):6-8.
9. Berrah G, Konetzka WA. Selective and reversible inhibition of the synthesis of bacterial deoxyribonucleic acid by phenethyl alcohol. J Bacteriol 1962;83:738-44.
10. Silver S, Wendt L. Mechanism of action of phenethyl alcohol: Breakdown of the cellular permeability barrier. J Bacteriol 1967;93(2):560-6.
11. Nakamura H. Phenethyl alcohol sensitivity in Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol 1967;93(3):1183-4.
12. Painuli S, Rai N, Kumar N. GC-MS analysis of methanolic extract of leaves of Rhododendron campanulatum. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2015;7(12):299-303.
13. Selvam TP, Sivakumar A, Prabhu PP. Design and synthesis of quinazoline carboxylates against gram-positive, gram-negative, fungal pathogenic strains, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Pharm Bio Allied Sci 2014;6(4):278-84.
14. Masker WE, Eberle H. Effect of phenethyl alcohol on deoxyribonucleic acid-membrane association in Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol 1972;109(3):1170-4.
15. Fraud S, Rees EL, Mahenthiralingam E, Russell AD, Maillard JY. Aromatic alcohols and their effect on Gram-negative bacteria, cocci and mycobacteria. J Antimicrob Chemother 2003;51:1435-6.
16. Tieman DM, Loucas HM, Kim JY, Clark DG, Klee HJ. Tomato phenylacetaldehyde reductases catalyze the last step in the synthesis of the aroma volatile 2-phenylethanol. Phytochemistry 2007;68(21):2660-9.
17. Fang B, Yu M, Zhang W, Wang F. A new alternative to cosmetics preservation and the effect of the particle size of the emulsion droplets on preservation efficacy. Int J Cosmet Sci 2016;38(5):496-503.
584 Views | 688 Downloads
How to Cite
Sirilun, S., C. Chaiyasut, B. S. Sivamaruthi, S. Peerajan, N. Kumar, and PERIYANAINA KESIKA. “PHENETHYL ALCOHOL IS AN EFFECTIVE NON-TRADITIONAL PRESERVATIVE AGENT FOR COSMETIC PREPARATIONS”. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol. 10, no. 8, Aug. 2017, pp. 129-33, doi:10.22159/ajpcr.2017.v10i8.18572.
Original Article(s)

Most read articles by the same author(s)