Microbiology Testing for Cosmetics, Home and Personal Care Products - Baltic Master
Microbiology Testing for Cosmetics, Home and Personal Care Products

Microbiology Testing for Cosmetics, Home and Personal Care Products

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The presence of microorganisms in cosmetic, home and personal care products could cause spoilage or even produce some kind of chemical change in the product making it unsafe for consumer using them. Manufacturers take the help of independent chemical testing laboratories to ensure that their products are free of microorganisms and are safe for consumers to use.

Diverse testing methods

The home, personal care and cosmetic industry have diverse products like cosmetics, deodorants, shampoo, toothpaste, disinfectants, detergents, etc. Such a diverse product range will also have diverse chemical and physical characteristics and so also the microbiology of each product will be different from each other.

Another important factor to consider is that some products could comprise of synthetic chemicals others may contain only natural ingredients and still others a mixture of chemical and plant derived ingredients. Therefore, each product requires diverse testing methods which can be conducted in the testing laboratories.
Chemical testing laboratories partner with manufacturers of cosmetics, home and personal care products to screen raw materials especially if they are plant based. Testing raw materials helps to rule out contamination from environment.

Monitoring the processing and production areas and maintaining hygienic practices will prevent microbiological contamination during manufacturing. Cosmetics need to be designed to withstand contamination
  • from multiple-use
  • long storage periods
  • in various climatic conditions
  • from heat and moisture
Effective preservative

Moisture is one of the main causes of microbial growth that can cause product spoilage and spread of pathogen growth. To prevent contamination manufacturers use preservatives but these must be safe for consumers but effective enough to prevent spoilage and contamination.

The cosmetics, home and personal care industry uses the services of microbiological testing laboratories to formulate an effective preservative system for their products. Testing laboratories carry out a number of tests on
  • Raw materials and finished products testing for specific pathogens
  • Water testing for water used in manufacturing process
  • Hygiene monitoring in the production environment
  • Microbial testing like aerobic plate count, yeast and mould count, etc.
To test the effectiveness of the preservative system the testing laboratories introduce known pathogens into the products. The products are then tested at various time intervals to determine their survival or growth. If the preservative is effective there will be no growth of pathogens.

Frequency and approach 
The testing labs use the microbiological risk analysis approach to determine the type and frequency of testing. This is established by taking into consideration the nature of the product, its application, type of user and other relevant factors. The microbiological risk assessment should be able to rule out in particular harmful pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa,

Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and E. coli. The microbiological testing laboratories often use the enrichment method for screening these organisms. The enrichment method of testing is used to detect even very low counts of bacteria.

The product is enriched by growing in the enrichment broth for seven days and if pathogenic bacteria are present, even in very low numbers, they will multiply and will be detected.

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