The antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal lipstick

The antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal lipstick.


Lipstick, or lip balm, enhances and prevents the lips from chapping. But sharing a tube with a friend or family member can also spread infections. To develop a version with antimicrobial properties, the researchers added cranberry extract to the formulation, as reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. The cream, of intense red colour, quickly inactivates the viruses, bacteria, and fungi that come into contact with it.


According to historians, the inhabitants of ancient Egypt were the first to use makeup, applying pastes made from minerals and other substances present in their environment. Formulations have evolved over the centuries, but now researchers have come full circle, turning back to natural ingredients . For example, recent studies have reported that lipstick formulas that incorporate natural dyes, such as red dragon fruit, can result in products with vibrant colors and antimicrobial activity. Cranberry extract has now been shown to inactivate viruses and fungi as well.

Ángel Serrano-Aroca and colleagues at the Universidad Católica de Valencia mixed cranberry extract into a creamy lipstick base, which contained shea butter, vitamin E, provitamin B5, babassu oil ( Attalea speciosa) and avocado. In the experiments, red cream was added to cultures containing different viruses, bacteria and a fungal species (respectively: Φ6 bacteriophage, MS2 bacteriophage, a surrogate of SARS-CoV-2, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusEscherichia coliMycobacterium smegmatis, a surrogate for Mycobacterium tuberculosis , and the fungus C andida albicans).


The viruses were completely inactivated within one minute of contact with cranberry-containing cream. Multi-resistant bacteria, mycobacteria and fungi were essentially inactivated within five hours of applying the cream. The researchers suggest that their new lipstick formula could offer protection against a variety of disease-causing microorganisms.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rush to find materials that can help limit or avoid the spread of SARS-CoV-2, while infections with multidrug-resistant bacteria and fungi have been left behind and are becoming a threat. The proposed antimicrobial lipstick offers a new form of protection against a broad range of microorganisms, which is important in the current era of the COVID-19 pandemic and microbial resistance,” comment the authors of the study.



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