Characterisation, toxicology and clinical effects of crocodile oil in skin products
Natural oils are regularly used in cosmetics and as treatment for numeral skin conditions (Nielsen, 2006:575). The natural products industry is a multibillion dollar industry and has grown tremendously over the past few years. Natural oils used in cosmetics contain a range of fatty acids which contribute to several valuable properties in cosmetic- and personal care products. Fatty acids are divided into saturated acids and unsaturated acids (Vermaak et al., 2011:920,922). Because of the popularity and wide diversity of skin care products, it is necessary to create products that will distinguish themselves from the rest of the commercial products. To include natural oils in skin care products is a new way to prevent skin ageing, as well as other dermatological conditions. In this study, a natural oil, namely crocodile oil was used. Crocodile oil is obtained from the fat of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). Crocodile oil has the same composition as human skin oil. It only differs with regard to the percentages of the ingredients present. Crocodile oil contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Because of the similar composition as human skin oil, crocodile oil will rarely be allergenic when applied to human skin and therefore will be a very accepted and harmless product to use (Croc city, 2012). There are many claims of positive results when crocodile oil containing products have been used. It includes fading of freckles, treatment of acne and pimple marks, dark lines, wrinkles and laugh lines. It also includes vanishing of dark shadows, sun spots and other discolorations. It helps prevent discolorations from forming and makes the skin softer, brighter and more attractive. It also controls rashness and dryness (Croc city, 2012). Because of crocodile oil’s anti-ageing, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects claimed by crocodile oil suppliers, and due to the fact that little scientific data is available on crocodile oil, it was decided to investigate the claims. In this study, the aims and objectives were to use natural oil, namely crocodile oil, and investigate the fatty acid profile, anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity, anti-oxidant activity, toxicity studies, stability determination of crocodile oil lotion and clinical efficacy testing of the anti-ageing effects. To determine the fatty acid profile of crocodile oil, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis with gas chromatography were used. Identification of FAME peaks in the samples was made by comparing the relative retention times of FAME peaks from samples to those of reference standards. The composition of fatty acids in crocodile oil compared well to fatty acids found in human skin oil. Anti-microbial and anti-fungal tests were done by Envirocare Laboratories, North-West University, Potchefstroom. Staphylococcus aureus, Esterichia coli, Pseudomanas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Brasiliensis, Propionibacterium acnes and Trichophyton rubrum cultures were used to determine the anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity of crocodile oil. Unfortunately no activity was observed. The anti-oxidant properties of crocodile oil and crocodile oil lotion were determined by using the most commonly used method for measuring Malondialdehyde (MDA) in biological samples, namely the thiobarbituric acid (TBA) test. This method is based on spectrophotometric quantification of the pink complex formed after reaction of MDA with two molecules of TBA. No anti-oxidant activity was observed in the oil or the lotion. Toxicity studies were performed by Dr. D. Goosen (BVSc Hons. Pret.) from Tswane University of Technology (Pretoria, South Africa). The studies showed that the lotion had no toxicity in the skin sensitisation, acute dermal toxicity and acute dermal irritation studies. To determine the stability of the crocodile oil lotion, the formulated products were store at 25 °C / 60% RH (relative humidity), 30 °C / 60% RH and 40 °C / 75% RH for 6 months in the original packaging as well as a glass container. The stability tests included pH, viscosity, visual appearance assessment, zeta-potential, droplet size and mass loss. The crocodile cream lotion was stable over the 6 months period in both containers. Clinical efficacy testing was performed at the CEL (Clinical Efficacy Laboratory) of the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. A short-term study over a period of 3 h was performed to investigate the hydrating effects of crocodile oil lotion. A long-term study over a period of 12 weeks was performed to examine the anti-ageing effects of crocodile oil lotion. An erythema study was also conducted to test the anti-erythema properties of crocodile oil lotion. Although the crocodile oil lotion as well as the placebo lotion showed an increase in skin hydration, there was no significant difference between the two treatments. Crocodile oil lotion also showed no anti-erythema properties.
- Health Sciences