Bacteriological quality analysis of herbal cosmetics sold in Kampala District, Uganda
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The use of herbal cosmetics is popular in Uganda. Despite the increase in consumer trust for these products, the bacteriological quality of herbal cosmetics sold in Kampala has remained unknown. Regulatory polices on herbal cosmetics are limited yet contamination by bacteria may cause chemical degradation that puts the health of many consumers at risk. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 20 pharmacies .Thirty nine herbal cosmetics consisting of 21 creams and 18 ointments were identified. Label disclosure and sources of these products were evaluated using a checklist. Ten most commercially available cosmetics were randomly purchased from 20 pharmacies for bacteriological quality analysis. The assessment of bacterial contamination was carried out using standard procedures. Results: There was non-disclosure of batch numbers, shelf life, preservatives use and addresses of manufacturers on most of herbal cosmetics labels. Fifty four percent of herbal cosmetics did not disclose batch numbers on the labels. Forty four percent of the herbal cosmetics had no disclosure of shelf life on their herbal cosmetics. Twenty percent of the evaluated herbal cosmetics had acceptable bacteriological counts (less than 1000 c.f.u /g. Twenty eight percent had mild bacteria contamination ranging between 103-104 c.f.u /g. Fifty two percent were heavily contaminated .Bacterial loads ranged from 104 to 105. The difference in mean total aerobic counts between herbal cosmetic creams and ointments was statistically significant (P=0.013). Prominent contaminants in 50 herbal cosmetics were species of Bacillus species (52%), other types of Staphyloccocus species (48%), Staphylococcus aureus (42%), Micrococcus species (30%) and Pseudomonas species (20%). Overall Bacillus species were the major contaminants in both creams and ointments. Conclusion: Commercial cosmetic creams and ointments evaluated in this study did not generally meet the standards for bacterial limits as specified in official monographs. Such products can adversely affect health status of consumers as well as the stability profiles of the products. There is need for increased regulatory surveillance on bacterial quality of herbal cosmetics.