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  • Triclosan Alternatives

    Posted by gfeldman on November 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Triclosan is a somewhat ubiquitous gram + antimicrobial, but it seems to be getting a bad wrap lately. I’m not particularly concerned about if these opinions are backed by solid science or not (although I do believe that overuse of a single antimicrobial is not a good thing), whats important is that selective people may not want this ingredient in their products. That said, are there good alternatives to Triclosan out there (?) that have most of the following properties;

    - Anti-microbial activity against gram + bacteria on the skin (anti-odor)
    - Relatively low cost/concentration used ratio
    - Low odor (microbial itself does not stink)
    - Doesn’t sound extremely scary on label
    - Stable around non-ionic surfactants
    - Effective

    OK, I know that’s probably a tall order, but I am open to suggestions. I look forward to your comments.

    First time poster and new member,

    Eli replied 8 years, 1 month ago 18 Members · 32 Replies
  • 32 Replies
  • pma

    December 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    In Japan, where the use of triclosan is extremely limited, they usually use o-cymen-5-ol. I don’t know if it fits all your requirements though. 

  • DavidW

    December 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    How about Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

  • MakingSkincare

    December 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Obviously depends on the formula but here’s a run down of some common preservatives and what they cover including those considered “natural” (approved by Ecocert) -

  • Duncan

    December 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Chlorhexidene does have drawbacks. The one that I hear about on a regular basis is in laundry for care homes. If you are in a region where sodium hypochlorite bleach is used in laundry on a regular basis (Mainly the US and Canada) this can interact with Chlorhexidene residues and give a rather nasty stain that won’t come out in the wash.



  • vitalys

    December 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I guess Chlorhexidine is a perfect alternative for Triclosan. I worked with it a few years ago and I discovered it even better. It would work great as anti-microbial active as well as preservative. It’s activity begins with 0,05% in cosmetics and all the tests (micro-biological) were perfectly clear. it’s cheap and affordable.

    We also discovered that it’s activity as a deodorant was much stronger (and lasted longer) than Triclosan had in such products like foot care.

    However, it could give some complexes with some other actives in solutions. For instance, adding Chlorhexidine to the thymol solution resulted in white cloudy complexes.

  • Bobzchemist

    December 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Well, someone here is prescient:


    For Immediate Release: Dec. 16, 2013
    Media Inquiries: Andrea Fischer, 301-796-0393,
    Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
    FDA issues proposed rule to determine safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps
  • Perry

    December 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Interesting.  I wonder what it means.  The products are presumably already safe and effective aren’t they?

  • alchemist

    December 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I guess you’d need to show that they were more effective than the placebo.

    Most of the data I’ve seen seems to indicate that they’re no better at reducing bacteria than products without (esp with respect to triclosan), that’s even before you start looking at whether they have any clinical benefit.  Sure you can kill 99.9% of bacteria, but what’s the point if that 99.9% of bacteria is generally harmless.

  • Perry

    December 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Right.  Proving that they work better than plain soap and water is going to be a tall order.

  • mikebavington

    January 10, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Polyhexanide - PHMB.

  • krupabrahmbhatt

    January 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    How about benzalkonium chloride?

  • Chemist77

    January 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Its something about PR as well, although if you see in most of the barber salons the disinfecting solution containing BKC is used extensively and I suppose its quite effective as well.

  • Belassi

    September 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Tea tree oil is wonderful, but (a) expensive and (b) does have a strong smell.

  • crisbaysauli

    September 24, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Sodium Caproyl/ Lauroyl Lactyl Lactate (Dermosoft Decalact) claims to be a natural substitute to Triclosan. It also claims deodorizing, preserving and antibacterial properties. You might want to check it out.

  • Chemist79

    October 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    CHDG can be degraded by UV light so not to be used in a clear colourless pack. PHMB has a bad rep. BAC & DDAC are good but the cationic nature can make formulating expensive. Personally I always found Triclosan pretty useless for cosmetic purposes the kill is too slow. Glycolic acids and salicylates would be my personal choice.

  • mitrav

    November 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Benzethonium Chloride (not to be mistaken with benzalkonium chloride )could be a good choice 

  • Bobzchemist

    November 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Basically, the FDA has decreed that every single one of the monograph anti-bacterial ingredients is to be declared Category III (not proven safe OR effective) for consumer products when their new regulation takes effect. 

    In effect, that will make it illegal to sell (in the US) any product to the general public with the words “antibacterial” or “antiseptic” anywhere on the label. I think this starts sometime in 2015.
    Any alternative ingredients will have the same safety and efficacy challenges as the original monograph ingredients. 
    To my knowledge, no active ingredient manufacturer has stepped up to announce that they will be conducting the FDA required tests, so all anti-bacterial skin cleaning products will be DOA fairly soon.
  • Belassi

    November 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Absolute madness. The FDA is not fit for purpose. 

  • Bobzchemist

    November 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm
    Let me explain further - this will be for FDA-regulated products only, i.e., anything used on humans or animals.

    Other types of cleaners - hard surface, dish, etc. are EPA-regulated (FIFRA) and considered pesticides if they claim anti-bacterial activity. Whole different set of regulations (just as much or more of a PITA, but in a different direction)
  • Belassi

    November 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

    The thing is, and I don’t want to step into politics here, that in other countries - eg, Mexico and the whole of the European Union, a small manufacturer like us can enter the market, but in the USA, small manufacturers are shut out completely because of extravagant costs of FDA testing, which to my mind is a disgrace and a perpetuation of “the rich get everything and the rest fight for the crumbs”.

    Here in Mexico for instance I can claim antibacterial properties for a product without worrying that powers on high are coming after me, providing that my ingredients comply with the regulated ingredients list (which simply acts to prevent noxious substances being used).
  • Bri

    November 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Belassi:  I am with you on the point that the USA system is rigged against smaller manufacturers. I also feel that the FDA is often misguided and over-regulates (don’t get me started on the DSHEA opposition and the fact that many at the FDA would require prescriptions for basic vitamins and supplements). However, I think the action in this instance makes sense.  Our world is facing an increase of super-bugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Not to mention the rise in the number of reported hormonal imbalances, which are starting to wreak havoc on almost every body in the western developed world. 

    Marketing that claims “antibacterial” and “kills 99.9% of germs”  relies on fear-mongering among a public that has become obsessed with being over-sterile. Like Perry said, proving that these extra ingredients work better than plain soap and water is a tall order. The real point here is that we do not need high doses of anti-bacterial ingredients to keep safe, clean homes. Regular soap and water do just fine.  I actually think this will be good for a lot of smaller manufacturers, because it will encourage people to just return to the basics-something a lot of small/home manufacturers have been preaching for years.

    Now that we’ve sufficiently derailed gfeldman’s original post… is Silverion 2400 (formerly known as Tinosan) an alternative to triclosan?  I know it’s used in a lot of deodorant formulations.  Lotioncrafters has the tech sheet for it:

    I haven’t used it, but I’ve thought about it… Anyone here have experience with it?
  • Bri

    November 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I should also add that the Tinosan/Silverion meets one of your requirements, gfeldman: not sounding scary on the label.  The INCI is: Silver Citrate and Citric Acid.  

    Perhaps this in conjunction with a few other ingredients in a “hurdle” approach would meet your needs?  Be careful-it does have some incompatibilities and is also light sensitive, so packaging will be an issue.
  • Belassi

    November 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    @Bri: What is “regular” soap and water?

    In our grandparent’s time soap was made by saponification resulting in a product with pH=10, which is antibacterial for sure!
    Unfortunately modern bar soap is merely solid surfactants and has no antibacterial activity to speak of, and that’s what most people use these days. That in my opinion is why soap manufacturers started putting antibacterial components into their soap.
    Not that I am advocating a return to cold (or hot) process soap. It is lovely stuff (we make it) but it has big drawbacks for supermarket type sales: the glycerin tends to make it ‘sweat’ and it has a definite shelf life unlike synthetic soap.
  • Belassi

    November 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

     Silver Citrate and Citric Acid

    Sounds as if it will turn black with light exposure, and be very expensive?
  • Bri

    November 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I can’t solve the synthetic soap dilemma for large super-market manufacturers. You raise a good point, but I’d really rather use saponified soap or body washes for my personal shower usage anyway. Detergent bars-which is what Dial and Irish Spring are (not real “soap”)-however will still get you clean enough for most people’s every-day showering purposes. As mentioned above, it doesn’t seem that this FDA ruling will affect things like dish soap or cleaning products, where you might be able to make the case that antibacterial properties are necessary.  I just don’t need to anti-bacterialize my entire body every time I take a shower. Hot water and soap (I use real soap) or even a detergent bar will do the job of washing away sweat, lotions, perfumes, and daily grime. Most germs go with it. 

    I guess the only outlier I can see is hand soap for things like bathrooms, hospitals, nursing stations, etc.  But i think the point of the FDA ruling is that you’ll really have to prove antibacterial properties above and beyond a control product (liquid hand soap without triclosan), which-as Perry mentioned-will be tough. Most of the time successful hand washing rids the skin of bacteria and germs, regardless of whether or not an ingredient that is germicidal was used. In the end, isn’t that the goal? Clean hands that don’t spread disease? Does it matter if you’ve assaulted the germs with a germicidal ingredient or just successfully washed them down the sink?

    Yes, the Siverion is light sensitive, like I mentioned in my post above, and yes it is expensive. These are some of the reasons I have not used it. However, it is a viable option for the original poster’s purposes in certain circumstances-especially if he is aiming to please a particular clientele willing to pay a little more for ingredients they “approve.”

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