Determination of 43 prohibited glucocorticoids in cosmetic products using a simultaneous LC-MS/MS method
Recently, prohibited glucocorticoids (GCs) have been detected in commercial cosmetic products; they have been illegally added to enhance certain pharmacological efficacy and to make illegal profits. Therefore, the health of consumers has been exposed to the adverse effects of these tampered products. In this study, 95 samples are related to skincare, such as lotions, creams, solutions, gels and powders, with deceptive advertisements in the online or offline markets and their compositions were determined. From these samples, 43 GCs (beclomethasone, betamethasone, dexamethasone, budesonide, hydrocortisone, prednisolone, etc.) were simultaneously quantified by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The limit of quantification (LOQ, 1.0–90.0 ng mL−1), recoveries (spiked in cream samples, 84.61–118.34%; spiked in solution samples, 82.51–116.05%) and linearities (spiked in all samples, R2 > 0.99 at 100.0–2000.0 ng mL−1) were measured for method validation. The precisions (RSD) for intra-day and inter-day analysis were less than 14.19% and 12.82%. Also accuracies were 80.24–119.90% and 80.08–117.13%, respectively. The RSD of stability was ≤14.25%. Three of the 43 compounds were detected in the cream and solution forms, betamethasone at 24.2% was the most frequently used adulterant, followed by triamcinolone acetonide (8.4%) and clobetasol propionate (3.2%). The measured concentration ranges for betamethasone, clobetasol propionate, and triamcinolone acetonide were 29.2–331.0 μg g−1, 66.0–119.0 μg g−1, and 15.2–28.6 μg g−1, respectively. Therefore, with respect to public health and safety, the information obtained from this research should be available to the public.