Investigation of Lipid Oxidation in the Raw Materials of a Topical Skin Formulation: A Topical Skin Formulation Containing a High Lipid Content

Birgitte Raagaard Thomsen*, Richard Taylor, Robert Madsen, Grethe Hyldig, Peter Blenkiron, Charlotte Jacobsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Several studies have demonstrated that lipid oxidation often occurs in topical skin formulations which can affect product odor (both positively and negatively). Furthermore, odor detection threshold values and odor descriptors of identified volatile oxidation products in cleansing and skin cream formulation prototypes were recently determined by a trained sensory panel at the Technical University of Denmark in the Division of Food Technology. In this study, we investigated lipid oxidation in a prototype skin cream formulation as well as in selected cosmetic skin care raw materials. Lipid oxidation was measured regularly over a six-month period for the product and over a three-month period for the raw materials by headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The volatile compound present in the highest initial concentration, and which increased most during storage, was 3-methyl-1-butanol (medicinal, chemical/cleaning agent odor), and its formation was linked to the raw material isoamyl p-methoxycinnamate. The odor character of the product after storage was assessed and informally deemed acceptable for consumer usage and typical of topical dermocosmetic products. A potential pathway for its formation was also identified. In addition, the concentrations of several well-known lipid oxidation products increased during storage and were suggested to originate primarily from rice bran wax, which oxidized more readily than other raw materials due to its unsaturated nature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)185-196
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Autoxidation
  • Lipid analysis and lipids
  • Lipid chemistry
  • Nutrition and health
  • Oxidative stability

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