Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hand lotion becomes body lotion

So what's the big difference between a body and a hand lotion. Body lotion you put on your body...well, you get the idea. There are no huge differences between a body lotion and a hand lotion if you just look at the formula. We're still using oil, water, emulsifier, and preservative in pretty much the same ratios, and we still want nice oils, butters, thickeners, and other things in it.

I find the key difference between a body and a hand lotion are the types of oils and butters we use and the thickness we expect.

I tend to use stearic acid for a hand lotion, cetyl alcohol in a body lotion for a more glidy feel because we're using it over a larger surface area. And I might consider switching humectants - sodium lactate and sodium PCA can make you more sun sensitive, so I have to consider the season in which I will be using this. I might consider honeyquat or Hydrovance instead. Glycerin is a great choice because we'll tolerate more stickiness in a body lotion than in a hand lotion (And honey is always a lovely choice with good label appeal).

When considering our oils, we can choose something that might have been too heavy for a hand lotion - like olive oil - that might feel nice in a body lotion. And we want to consider for whom we are making the lotion.

If you were making it for someone like me, someone who is under perpetual attack from the elements in the winter, you might consider some high barrier repair oils like borage and evening primrose or coconut oil for weather damaged skin. I also like something that will reduce redness and inflammation, so I want something high in phytosterols like pomegranate, sea buckthorn, sesame, apricot kernel, olive, sesame, soybean, sunflower, or wheat germ oil.

If you are making it for someone who likes to sit in the sun, you would want olive oil, and some oils with carotenoids for UV protection, like avocado oil, hempseed oil, rice bran oil, or wheat germ oil.

If you're making it for someone as an after sun lotion, but you need something lighter and more exotic sounding, consider camellia oil (high oleic), carrot tissue oil, rosehip oil, and sea buckthorn oil.

If you're making it for aging skin, you'll want oils with high linoleic or GLA levels, high levels of anti-oxidants and Vitamin E, and polyphenols that reduce the destruction of collagen, increase cell regeneration, and thicken skin. Borage, pomegranate, or sea buckthorn oil all work well for those kinds of applications.

If you're making it for dry skin, choose not-so-dry feeling oils with lots of moisturization potential. High linoleic acid oils, like sunflower, soybean, and rice bran oil will help reduce transepidermal water loss, while oils high in ferulic acid contain potent anti-oxidants that also moisturize (consider coconut, rice bran, or wheat germ oils).

You can also change the butters if you like. If you want something to protect your skin's barrier abilities, then cocoa butter is a good choice. If you want something a little drier, mango butter is a good choice. And if you want a butter that offers anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, then either shea or mango are good choices.

Because this is for me in the winter time, I will choose cocoa butter for increased barrier protection, evening primrose for increased GLA, and coconut oil.

30.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% lavender or chamomile hydrosol
3% glycerin or other humectant
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin

15% oil combination of choice - 10% evening primrose, 5% coconut oil
5% butter of choice - 5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
7.5% emulsifier (I like Polawax in this recipe)
2% IPM

2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

How different was that recipe? I switched the stearic and cetyl alcohol, and I decided to use glycerin as my humectant because I don't mind the stickiness on my skin. The water and oil phases are almost identical with the exception of the elimination of the sodium lactate, just in case I go into the sun. But my oils are different - I've chosen evening primrose for the GLA and coconut oil for the weather damaged skin bonus - and I've chosen a different butter that offers more occlusion. Pretty much everything else is the same. But the oil changes will make this a different feeling lotion - a little thicker, a little drier, and a little more occlusive.

Join me for more formulating fun with body lotions tomorrow!

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