Several studies have reported that 1,2-alkanediols show increasing anti-microbial activity as their alkane chain length increases. However, there are no reports on the influence of alkane chain length on the skin irritation potential of 1,2-alkanediols. To investigate the influence of alkane chain length on the skin irritation potential of 1,2-alkanediols. The objective and subjective (sensory) skin irritation potentials of five 1,2-alkanediols - 1,2-butanediol, 1,2-pentanediol, 1,2-hexanediol, 1,2-octanediol and 1,2-decanediol - were evaluated. We also estimated percutaneous absorption by measuring in vitro skin penetration using a Franz diffusion cell system. Like anti-microbial activity, sensory irritation potential increased as alkane chain length increased, most likely due to increasing membrane interference and/or intrinsic toxicity of 1,2-alkanediols. 1,2-Hexanediol showed the lowest objective skin irritation potential, which increased when the alkane chain length decreased or increased. Furthermore, percutaneous absorption negatively correlated with the alkane chain length of 1,2-alkanediols. These results show that a lower skin absorption potential is not indicative of a low skin irritation potential. Our results suggest that the factors and processes involved in skin irritation potential are complex and that skin irritation potential is influenced by intrinsic toxicity and the potential for penetration or integration in the lipid bilayer.
© 2011 The Authors. ICS © 2011 Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Société Française de Cosmétologie.