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Cosmetology: Phenol and Phenolic Disinfectants

Phenol and Phenolic Disinfectants - Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Phenol is now rarely used because it irritates the skin has disagreeable odor: used as throat lozenges but has little antimicrobial effect. Disrupts Plasma Membranes which results in leakage of cellular content.
  • Phenolics are chemical derivatives of phenol.
  • Have reduced irritation and increase in antibacterial activit├ęs in combination with soap or detergent.
  • Phenolic disinfectants are generally safe for humans but prolonged exposure to the skin may cause irritation
  • phenolics can be used as household cleansers (pinesol, lysol), floors and counters and can be used as antiseptics.
  • The level of disinfection provided by phenolics as a disinfectant is from intermediate to low. Less irritating and have a greater antimicrobial activity.
  • Phenolics kill microorganisms by damaging their plasma membrane and denaturing proteins. Can kill mycobacteria.


List advantages and disadvantages to Phenolic compounds.

List six disadvantages of phenolic disinfectants

Advantages of Phenolic Disinfectants:

1. Can be used as a environmental surface disinfectant, skin surfaces, mucous membranes - persist for long periods after application
2. Intermediate to low level disinfectant
3. Remain active in presence of organic compounds and stable to dilutions.
4. Certain phenolic compounds can be used as antiseptics.


Question: What are the six disadvantages of Phenolic disinfectants?
List Six Disadvantages of Phenolic Disinfectants milady:

1. Unpleasant odor
2. Irritate skin and mucous membranes.
3. Can accumulate to toxic levels, which makes them dangerous to use as antiseptics.
4. Require 10 minutes contact time to kill microbes
5. Not effective against non-enveloped viruses and endospores.
6. Concentrations over 2% are highly toxic to all animals, especially cats.