Exploring the possibility of predicting long-term oxidative stability in prototype skincare formulations using various lipid oxidation-initiators

Birgitte Raagaard Thomsen*, Richard Taylor, Ditte Baun Hermund, Ann-Dorit Molke Sørensen, Shuk Yee Heung, Grethe Hyldig, Peter Blenkiron, Charlotte Jacobsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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The purpose of this study was to identify an effective lipid oxidation initiator which could predict, within one month, the long-term oxidative stability of a prototype skincare formulation. The main purpose is to find a potential initiator not to assess oxidation stability of the formulations. FOUR INITIATORS (BELOW) WERE EXAMINED IN THREE STEPS: 1. Reaction kinetics using a Clark electrode (Oxygraph); 2. Effect of adding an initiator on the product's physical and oxidative stability in prototype skincare formulations by visual observation, peroxide value and headspace GC-MS determination of volatile oxidation products; and 3. Ability to differentiate unstable vs. stable prototype creams by initiator addition. The four initiators explored were: FeCl2/H2O2 , FeCl3 /ascorbic acid, 2,2'-Azobis(2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile) (AMVN) and 2,2'-Azobis(2-methylpropionamidine) dihydrochloride (AAPH). In Oxygraph, the initiator systems FeCl2/H2O2 and FeCl3/ascorbic acid were good accelerators of oxygen consumption. The addition of FeCl2/H2O2 to prototype formulations did not affect the physical stability. However, the addition of FeCl3/ascorbic acid to prototype formulations resulted in phase separation and FeCl3/ascorbic acid was therefore deemed unusable. Moreover, the addition of AAPH or AMVN resulted in an increased and decreased viscosity, respectively. In the oxidation stability study, peroxide value increased significantly when AMVN was added. However, the peroxide value remained low for the other initiators and the control (no initiator). The secondary volatile oxidation product, butanal, increased most with the FeCl2/H2O2 addition. Three out of the four initiators did not have the ability to rank the stable and unstable formulations in accordance with the result obtained for volatile oxidation products after 42 days of storage at 20°C of formulations without initiator. Only, FeCl2/H2O2 was able to rank the formulations in accordance with the oxidative stability observed for volatile oxidation products after 42 days of storage. FeCl2/H2O2 showed potential as an initiator to predict the oxidative stability of skincare formulations, but more studies are needed to confirm the result in a broader range of products over a longer time. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cosmetic Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Emulsions and Formulation stability
  • Oxygraph
  • Peroxide Values
  • Volatile Oxidation Products


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