In Vitro Evaluation of Biological Activity of Anthocyanin Based Lipstick Formulations

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The growing market demands for health-promoting ingredients, as well as a growing concern over the use of synthetic colorants in consumer products, highlights the need for alternative coloring ingredients in cosmetic products. Anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids, have been reported as potent antioxidants, acting as anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic compounds and as natural colorants in the food industry. However, their application in cosmetic products as active ingredients has scarcely been previously reported. Some of their reported benefits may be seen when applied topically in an appropriate skin-penetrating vesicle, such as liposomes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of anthocyanins as bioactive colorants in lipstick formulations. The hypothesis was that by targeting anthocyanin sources known for their high stability and reported health benefits, that these properties would also be observed in cosmetics. Formulations were tested for their ability to absorb UV light, free radical scavenging ability against DPPH, and inhibition of melanin production by tyrosinase. All formulas showed increased UV absorption over the lipstick base, with sources acylated with cinnamic acid exhibiting the highest in vitro SPF(UV-B) values. All formulas exhibited high inhibition of DPPH free radicals, and melanin production by tyrosinase, above that of the controls, BHT and kojic acid, respectively. Moreover, their activity was determined to be at physiologically relevant levels for lipstick applications. Our results suggest the potential for anthocyanins to be used as biological active ingredients in cosmetic formulations by acting as antioxidants, UV-protection, and anti-aging compounds.


Poster Division: Biological Sciences: 2nd Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)


anthocyanins, UV absorption, antioxidants, tyrosinase, cosmetics