Sunday, January 3, 2010

Formulating with oils - very itchy skin oil spray

My husband, Raymond, gets itchy shins, and he scratches them until they bleed (in his sleep, for the most part), so I want to formulate some products that will help him with this problem.

Today I think I'll try formulating a light, moisturizing, anhydrous, anti-itch spray that will reduce his desire to scratch, help heal the current wounds, and moisturize enough to keep further damage from happening. (Remember, I'm not claiming this product will cure anything. I'm hoping the various features of each oil will help soothe something. Although I'm fairly sure the word "soothe" is also not allowed, you get the general idea...)

What's the point of this spray? I want to reduce the itching, heal the current wounds, and moisturize his skin. I would like the oil to be a little occlusive, so I'll need something heavier. Ideally I'd like a humectant, but that's a bit difficult with oils only.

Who will use this spray? My husband (I love that word!) loves my products - whenever I tell him his hair looks or smells great, he always says, "That's thanks to the exclusive hair care products I use!", which is incredibly sweet - and he'll use them. He is also very aware that all products have a "best before" date, and I'll bug him if he's using them beyond that time. He isn't a fan of having his hands covered in stuff after applying a really thick lotion (like sunscreen), and he's a fan of the spray-on type applications.

So I need to make something light that won't make his hands feel all slick for a long time, but will be occlusive enough to keep the moisture on his skin on his skin! He's very aware of the expiry date of any product, so I'm not limited to the oils I will use, but he does like a drier feeling product if he has to apply it himself. And I'll make a spray, because I know he'll use it! (I'd already decided on making a spray when I thought of this product idea, but this is where I'd decide the format of the product - spray, jar, bottle, tottle, and so on.)

There are a number of oils I'm considering for this application...
  • Castor oil - great phytosterols, analgesic, penetrates skin well
  • Shea butter - great phytsterols and allantoin, occlusive
  • Coconut oil - anti-inflammatory and anti-itching, help with weather damaged skin
  • Calendula oil - speeds wound healing, dry feeling oil
  • Cranberry oil - great phytosterols with a dry feeling
But there are reasons for not using each of them. Castor, shea, and coconut are all too heavy for this application, and I don't have calendula or cranberry oil.

These seem like good oils for this application...
  • Sea buckthorn oil - high levels of Vitamin E, high levels of phytosterols, palmitoleic acid heals wounds and scratches and acts as an anti-microbial
  • Macadamia nut oil - squalene, palmitoleic acid, high levels of phytosterols, oleic acid to moisturize and regenerate cells with some anti-inflammatory properties, an astringent oil.
  • Soy bean oil - linoleic acid to help with barrier repair, high levels of Vitamin E, high levels of phytosterols.
  • Borage oil - high levels of GLA and linoleic acid to help speed skin barrier repair, an astringent oil.
  • Evening primrose oil - high levels of GLA and linoleic acid to help speed skin barrier repair, an astringent oil.
  • Pomegranate oil - high levels of punicic acid that is anti-inflammatory, gallic acid is a wound and burn healer, very high levels of phytosterols, an astringent oil.
  • Olive oil - a humectant, it has some nice phytosterols that will help with inflammation and itching.
I'll start with the macadamia nut and soybean oils as the basis for this oil. I think 30% macadamia nut and 25% soybean oil will give a nice mix of greasy and dry oils. Sea buckthorn oil works well at 10%, and I'll use the evening primrose at 20% (the suggested amount). I'll use the pomegranate oil at 10% (suggested use). As much as I'd like to include olive oil, it's a little heavy and greasy for this application.

I'll add some IPM to this mix as a penetration enhancer and to impart a less greasy feel (although with all these non-greasy oils, this might be overkill), and dimethicone as an occlusive and barrier ingredient (I'll use the 350 cs version so it is more watery). I'm not adding a fragrance because I don't know what will irritate his skin, and I'll throw in 1% Vitamin E as an anti-oxidant and moisturizing ingredient. This should have a shelf life of 6 months - thanks to the evening primrose - and I'll only make a small batch at a time so it won't go rancid on us!

Okay, so I have my oils chosen - let's formulate!

30% macadamia nut oil
25% soy bean oil
10% sea buckthorn oil
10% pomegranate oil
20% evening primrose oil
2% IPM
2% dimethicone
1% Vitamin E

Mix the oils together. Bottle in a spray bottle.

Join me tomorrow for some other ideas on formulating with oils!


Anonymous said...

OMG - Love the photo!
Thank you for this ongoing "textbook" on the chemicals (oil/buters/additives, etc) that i've been buying and using for years but obviously not truly understanding fully. Your expalinations are brilliant!
Happy New Year!

Mich said...

Too bad you can't get some panthenol or allantoin in that anhydrous mixture! It would be nice to include something like that...would he go for a really thin sprayable emulsion?

BTW, made your concealer formula yesterday--I think it may be what I've been wanting!

Thanks again for all you do!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mich! I'm actually working my way, day by day, towards making lotions with the oils (oops, spoiler alert!) I'm fortunate in that Raymond likes my creations and will try anything I make, so I've made him a ton of various creations, including a very light lotion, a body butter, a whipped butter, and body wash with oils, to name a few things (again, I'm posting on these over the next week or so).

In the upcoming body butter, I've packed it full of all kinds of lovely ingredients like panthenol, humectants, allantion, aloe vera, hydrolyzed proteins, and so on, to help with his itchy legs. (Although I've been the one applying it every night - I think that's more about getting some wifely attention than hating the feeling on his hands!)

Which oils did you use in the concealer? You've reminded me to put this on my to-do list!

Mich said...

I didn't get too fancy--I used beeswax, FCO, and a titch of IPM. (I left out the Vit E because I couldn't find my bottle & FCO won't go bad anyway.) I like how the Ronaspheres improve the texture.

I am still experimenting with the color--during my foundation trials, I made A LOT of different beiges. Maybe one of them will be perfect for covering my undereye rings!

Take care!

Emily said...

Hello, Susan! Thank you for this enormous resource. I've learned a ton in the few days since I stumbled upon it.

I'm hoping you can help me find more information about oat oil, as in the pressed oil of whole oat groats. I've noticed that Aveeno is using it in some of their formulations, and I found it available for sale at New Directions Aromatics (for serious $$$), but I can't find anything about its chemical make-up, or whether it has the same anti-itch properties that a water based preparation would have.

Any ideas where I should look next? Thanks so much!

Corissa Jones said...

Is there anyway I can omit or replace the IPM and Dimethicone?
I am looking to keep it as "natural" as possible (i know, i know, natural has no real definition...)
i really appreciate your help and your blog... you are pretty much the main reason i am coming to the Canadian Soap Guild conference!
much love

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Corissa! Just substitute those things you don't want with things you do! And test your sea buckthorn oil for staining. Some versions are very dark, and can stain your skin. If your version is dark, use less and top it up with another oil.

Can you believe the conference is a month away? So excited!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! I've been looking to make an oil mist. Can't seem to make my macadamia and vit e create a mist, it squirts instead. Does your oil spray like a mist? I've see commercial dry oils mist been trying to figure it out. Thanks in advance - lucy