Investigations of olive oil industry by-products extracts with potential skin benefits in topical formulations

Andreia Nunes, Lídia Gonçalves, Joana Marques Marto, Ana M. Martins, Alexandra N. Silva, Pedro Contreiras Pinto, Marta Susana Silvestre Gouveia Martins, Carmo Fraga, Helena Margarida Ribeiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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The by-products of olive oil industry are a major ecological issue due to their phenolic content, highly toxic organic load, and low pH. However, they can be recovered and reused, since their components have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and photoprotector properties. In this work, oil-in-water creams containing three different olive oil industry by-products extracts were produced without the use of organic solvents. First, the extracts were thoroughly characterized in vitro for cytotoxicity, inhibition of skin enzymes, and antioxidant and photoprotection capacities. Safety studies were then performed, including ocular and skin irritation tests, ecotoxicity evaluation, and in vivo Human Repeat Insult Patch Test. The results obtained in this initial characterization supported the incorporation of the extracts in the cream formulations. After preparation, the creams were characterized for their organoleptic, physicochemical, droplet size and rheological properties, and microbial contamination. The results showed that all formulations were semi-solid creams, with stable pH, compatible with the skin, without microbial contamination, and with the expected droplet size range. The rheological analysis showed shear-thinning behavior with yield stress, with the viscosity decreasing with increasing shear rate. The oscillatory results suggest that the creams have a strong network structure, being easily rubbed into the skin. Finally, compatibility, acceptability and antioxidant efficacy were evaluated in vivo, in human volunteers. No adverse reactions were observed after application of the formulations on skin and the cream with the highest concentrations of phenolic compounds showed the highest antioxidant efficiency. In conclusion, the results suggest that olive oil industry by-products extracts have valuable properties that favor their re-use in the cosmetic industry. The example presented here showed their successful incorporation into creams and their impact in these formulations’ appearance, pH, and rheological performance, as well as their in vivo compatibility with skin and antioxidant efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number465
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2021


  • Antioxidant
  • Creams
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Extracts
  • Olive oil industry by-products


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