Introduction: The alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid at the C-4 position, “the
parabens,” including methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl, are widely used as antimicrobial
preservatives in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Official regulations on the use of these
compounds make their analysis essential for the estimation of their exposure.
Methods: On this basis, the presented study was realized to develop a simple, selective and cheap
high-performance liquid chromatographic method for the quantitative determination of
methylparaben, ethylparaben (EP), n-propyl paraben (NPP), isopropyl paraben (IPP), n-butyl paraben
(NBP), isobutyl paraben (IBP) and benzyl paraben (BP) in pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products.
Results: The chromatographic separation of the analytes was achieved under flow rate gradient
elution conditions using a C18-bonded core-shell silica particle column (2.6 μm particle size, 150
× 3.0 mm from Phenomenex Co.). The samples were injected into the system as aliquots of 1.0 μL,
and the compounds were detected by using a photodiode array detector set at 254 nm wavelength.
With this technique, seven paraben derivatives can be determined in the concentration range of
250-2000 ng/mL. The recovery of the method is in the range of 99.95-13.84%, and the RSD is at a
maximum value of 3.95%.
Conclusion: The proposed method was fully validated and successfully applied to different
pharmaceutical and cosmetic samples (n=16), including syrups, suspensions, oral sprays, gels, etc.
At least one paraben derivative was detected in six samples and was determined quantitatively. The
maximum amount of a paraben derivative found in the analyzed samples was 321.7 ng/mL, which
was MP. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first LC method, which is applicable both on
pharmaceutical and cosmetic samples.