Natamycin: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 4, 2023
Table of Contents

Picture this: you’re standing in the beauty aisle, squinting at the tiny ingredients list on the back of a cosmetic product. Your brain is frantically trying to decode the scientific jargon, half-expecting a hidden message to reveal itself while you wonder if you need a chemistry degree to navigate your skincare routine. Trust us, we’ve all been there.

One such ingredient that lurks behind the veil of those enigmatic labels is Natamycin. With a name that sounds like it could have been plucked straight from the periodic table, it’s no wonder that the average consumer might be left puzzled.

Fear not, skincare sleuths! Today, we’re going to dive into the world of Natamycin, demystifying this intriguing ingredient and exploring its various properties, uses, and potential side effects within the cosmetic industry.

What is Natamycin?

Natamycin, also known as pimaricin or Natacyn, is an antifungal and antimicrobial agent derived from Streptomyces natalensis, a type of bacteria. Its primary function in cosmetics is to act as a preservative, effectively preventing the growth of fungi and yeast in various products. By doing so, it ensures a longer shelf life and maintains the cosmetic product’s efficacy and safety. Typically, Natamycin can be found in concentrations ranging from 0.01% to 0.3% in the final product.

While it’s not common to find Natamycin as a stand-alone ingredient available for purchase, it’s frequently incorporated into a broader spectrum of preservatives in cosmetic formulations, spanning across products like creams, lotions, and makeup.

Who Can Use Natamycin?

Natamycin is a generally versatile ingredient and is considered safe for most skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Since it is derived from bacteria and not animal sources, it is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Plus, its antifungal properties can be helpful in preventing irritation or infection in skin that may be vulnerable.

As for pregnant and breastfeeding women, there hasn’t been any definitive research indicating that Natamycin poses any risks when applied topically in cosmetic products. However, as with any ingredient, it’s always recommended to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure safety and discuss any concerns you may have during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Natamycin Skin Benefits

Here are the potential benefits of Natamycin when incorporated into cosmetic products:

  • Antifungal properties: One of the primary benefits of Natamycin is its ability to prevent the growth of fungi and yeast. This helps keep your products safe and free from contamination, ensuring that issues like mold, which can trigger irritation or infections, are averted. Thus, your skincare and cosmetic products maintain their integrity, allowing users to reap the full benefits without any concerns.
  • Antimicrobial activity: As an antimicrobial agent, Natamycin can inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms that may find their way into your cosmetic products. This means fewer chances of breakouts, irritations, or rashes caused by bacterial growth, as well as a reduced possibility of product spoilage.

It’s important to note that the beneficial effects of Natamycin, such as its antifungal and antimicrobial properties, are not permanent. Consistent and appropriate usage of cosmetic products containing Natamycin is necessary to maintain these protective benefits.

Natamycin’s Non-active Cosmetic Uses

In addition to the active skin benefits described above, Natamycin also brings some non-active advantages as a cosmetic ingredient:

  • Preservative function: As mentioned earlier, Natamycin’s primary use in cosmetics is as a preservative. By keeping fungi, yeast, and harmful bacteria at bay, it effectively prolongs the shelf life of cosmetic products. This ensures that your favorite skincare and makeup items retain their effectiveness without being compromised by contaminants.

Natamycin Potential Side Effects

It’s essential to understand that side effects and reactions to ingredients like Natamycin can vary greatly from person to person. Our skin types, genetics, and individual sensitivities play a significant role in how we react to specific ingredients in our skincare and makeup products. That’s why it is crucial to find your skin type and understand its unique needs and reactions.

That being said, here are a few potential side effects and interactions to consider when using Natamycin:

  • Irritation: Although rare, some individuals might experience skin irritation due to this ingredient. Redness, itching, and even mild burning could manifest in particularly sensitive individuals.
  • Allergic reactions: In some cases, people may experience an allergic reaction to Natamycin, resulting in symptoms such as itching, swelling, or rash, although this is also fairly uncommon.

Suppose you happen to experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Natamycin. In that case, it’s essential to discontinue use immediately and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for guidance. They can help determine whether the reaction is due to the presence of Natamycin or another ingredient and recommend appropriate adjustments to your skincare regimen.

It’s important to reiterate that adverse reactions to Natamycin are generally rare, and it is considered a safe and effective ingredient when used correctly. However, as with any cosmetic product, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and perform a patch test before incorporating something new into your routine. Be sure to follow this comprehensive patch testing guide to ensure that you safely enjoy the benefits of your chosen product without any unwelcome surprises.

Comedogenic Rating

Considering Natamycin’s primary function as an antimicrobial and antifungal preservative, its comedogenic rating falls at the low end of the scale, between 0 and 1. This low rating indicates that Natamycin is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to the development of breakouts. As such, those who are prone to acne or breakouts can safely use products containing Natamycin without worrying about exacerbating their skin concerns.


Embarking on a journey to achieve optimal skincare often involves experimentation and trial-and-error, as individuals must explore various ingredients and formulations to discover what works best for their unique needs. Natamycin is one such ingredient that offers both non-active and active effects, providing immediate benefits to the skin.

Opting for products containing Natamycin can be an excellent choice for those seeking cosmetic items with safer preservatives, as well as antifungal and antimicrobial properties that enhance product efficacy and shelf life.

While not the most talked-about ingredient in the skincare industry, Natamycin remains a reliable and effective option for many consumers. Its presence in cosmetic formulations helps to maintain stability and ensure the safety of the products they use. However, as with any ingredient, it may take time to fully appreciate and experience its benefits, especially considering its role as a protective preservative rather than an active, transformative agent.

Summing things up, Natamycin is a notable addition to a variety of skincare and makeup products, aiming to safeguard their integrity, extend their shelf life, and uphold a high level of product effectiveness.

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