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From pharma to skin care products Hexamidine diisethionate as preservative For cosmetic products targeting sensitive skin

*Corresponding author
Minasolve Germany GmbH, Am Haupttor Bau 4208,
06237 Leuna, Germany


The search for safe preservatives is facing several challenges today. Potent preservation systems which are yet gentle to the consumer’s skin are highly demanded. Hexamidine Diisethionate (HD) is a preservative and antiseptic agent initially used in pharmaceutical over-the-counter (OTC) products. Its mildness and its efficacy at low use levels enable applications on sensitive skin, and even on mucous membranes. This article reviews the safety and performance profile of HD, and provides further data on its different skin care activities. Due to its cationic structure, HD may benefit from some preparation prior to formulation. The article therefore gives some guidelines on how to master formulation hurdles, and successfully utilize this interesting protection ingredient.


Safe and efficient preservation have become key words in the cosmetic business, and this topic has never been discussed so intensively since the turn of the 21st century. Following these discussions, several highly efficient classical preservatives, used without issues over decades, became discredited and their usage further restricted. Ingredient suppliers are more and more striving to supply secure and efficient alternatives. Some suppliers also try to fulfill the strong demand for ”green“ preservatives. However, whether molecules stem from Mother Nature or are made by mankind, in both cases some are safe and others less. This article describes the safety and performance profile of a man-made substance. It acts as an efficient preservative and is safe and gentle to human skin.



Hexamidine Diisethionate (HD) is a salt of the amidine base “Hexamidine” and two equivalents of the sulphonic acid “Isethionic Acid” (Figure 1). It has a long track record of use as anti-microbial agent since the 1950s, especially for products where mildness and safety ...

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