noSurfactants are commonly used as cleansing agents and yet there are concerns that they may also have a role in skin irritation. The lack of suitable methods for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of surfactant deposition on skin has hindered the in-depth investigation of such effects. Here, we report the application of reversed-phase liquid chromatography/electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS) assays for two surfactants commonly used in consumer products, namely sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) and laurylamidopropyl betaine (LAPB), to a baseline study aiming to assess deposition levels on human skin. The linearity of the assays was established at 3-20 ng, with coefficient of variation below 5%. The detection limits were 100 pg for LAPB and 1 ng for SLES; quantitation limits were 500 pg for LAPB and 2.5 ng for SLES. The baseline study was conducted using a panel of 40 healthy volunteers. Skin extract samples were taken in triplicate from forearms, using ethanol. SLES was detected on most volunteers, with 75% of them having SLES deposits in the range of 100-600 ng/cm(2). LAPB was detected on the skin of all volunteers with 85% of them having deposit levels within the concentration range of 1-100 ng/cm(2). These results demonstrate the extent to which commonly used surfactants remain on the skin during the day. The analytical methods reported here can be applied to the investigation of surfactants in relation to general skin condition and to the development and optimisation of new consumer wash products.EPSRC-DTA award / School Life Science
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