Lavender, tea tree and lemon oils as antimicrobials in washing liquids and soft body balms

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Feb;33(1):53-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00582.x.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of commercial essential oils: lavender, tea tree and lemon, antimicrobials in washing liquid and O/W soft body balm. The inhibition efficacy of essential oils in washing liquid (1% alone or in mixtures), in soft body balm (0.5% alone), as well as combined with the synthetic preservative DMDM hydantoin and 3-iodo-2-propynyl butyl carbamate mixture (0.1 and 0.3%), was tested against S. aureus ATCC 6538, P. aeruginosa ATCC 9027, Candida sp. ŁOCK 0008 and A. niger ATCC 16404 in compliance with the European Pharmacopoeia standards. The components of the system preserving soft body balm were supplemented with a solubilizer. Washing liquids containing only essential oils met Criterion A E.P. only for S. aureus, Candida sp. and A. niger. In soft body balm formulations, oils at a concentration of 0.5% did not reveal any preserving activity. The introduction of a solubilizer to a system containing 0.5% tea tree oil led to a substantial increase in the bacteriostatic activity of the formulation, but did not significantly affect its fungistatic properties. A combination of 0.5% tea tree oil, 5% solubilizer and 0.3% synthetic preservative ensured the microbiological stability of soft body balm in accordance with Criterion A E.P.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lavandula*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Oils*
  • Tea Tree Oil*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Plant Oils
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • lemon oil