Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for wrinkled skin

If you are a wrinkled or pigmented skin type, you might feel a little left out of the recent posts on toner and body butter because I didn't go into specifics of formulating those products, and I apologize for neglecting you. It's hard to take into consideration every single skin type possibility in a post that doesn't end up taking a week to read. (And I know I already write too much in my posts!)

The key for the pigmented type is to include ingredients that might increase exfoliation and extracts that will reduce the pigmentation of spots. You don't necessarily want this to be an all over product, but a spot product that you can use on specific areas. To increase exfoliation, you might want to use salicylic acid or AHA or even 3% sodium lactate as your humectant. To reduce pigmentation, you could use liquorice extract or Vitamin C in the cool down phase of your products.

The wrinkled type is very much like the dry skin type in that you want to increase moisturization and occlusion, so we're using all the right stuff for your skin type. You want to include hydrolyzed proteins, silicones, and quaternary compounds, so you could use BTMS as your emulsifier or add some quaternary polymers like honeyquat or polyquat 7. And you want to use salicylic acid or AHA in your products to increase exfoliation. You can add these during the cool down phase at the proper amounts.

Both skin types can benefit from oils high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) like calendula oil, and wrinkled skin could benefit greatly from pomegranate oil. Use either or both at 10%.

If you are an oily skinned, wrinkled type like me, you want to increase the moisturizing ingredients not based on oils like humectants, hydrolyzed proteins, silicones, and quaternary compounds and reduce the butters to compensate.

So the key is really more about whether you're oily or dry because it's easy to adapt products to include those exfoliating and moisturizing extracts. Just remember to ensure you don't have a ton of other exfoliating ingredients in that mix (like sodium lactate at over 3%, some extracts) so you don't end up really exfoliated and sensitive!

Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for oily skin

Point of interest...This is actually a picture of a whipped shea butter, but I was getting bored of using the same pictures over and over again!

This might seem like a bizarre concept, adding more oils to your oily skin, and for some people with really oily skin, this might be a very bad idea, indeed! If you are like me, your body skin tends towards the normal to dry (especially when I'm not wearing long sleeves in the winter), so you might just need this as a spot moisturizer for your elbows or arms or other specific areas. If you are finding you generally have oily skin with dry patches, this is more of a sign of a damaged skin barrier than having dry skin.

So this is a post for normal to oily skin. The very oily amongst us can use a body butter, but might find it way too oily! If you have spot dryness, like I do with my elbows, then make yourself the dry skin version and use that. I find it works well.

Here are our goals for body butter for oily skin...
Humectants galore, with an emphasis on lighter, possibly astringent oils, and a possible switch to using BTMS as the emulsifier for a drier feeling. We want to use more astringent extracts. Occlusion can be achieved by using allantoin and dimethicone with fewer butters.

Water: You can use lovely hydrosols like lavender, orange blossom, clary sage, and rosemary - all of which are great for oily skin. Consider something like chamomile or lavender for the rosacea type (if you have acne, then you want tons of anti-inflammatories as well, but there is the potential for break-outs using a product with lots of oils!) And always consider using aloe vera for the moisturizing and film forming, as well as the anti-inflammatory properties.

Humectants: Sodium lactate is our first choice because it behaves as an exfoliant and skin barrier repair ingredient as well as a humectant. We want to choose glycerin or another humectant like glycerin, honeyquat, or sodium PCA at 3%. This way we can get moisture to our skin without having to add a ton of oils!

Hydrolyzed proteins: I'd suggest using 2% of any hydrolyzed protein you like to offer film forming and moisturizing without oils.

Allantoin: We want to form a barrier and since cocoa butter is probably right out, allantoin at 0.5% in your water phase will help with that goal!

Oils & butters: For the oils, we want to choose more light, astringent oils that contain linoleic acid or GLA, so hazelnut, borage, evening primrose, grapeseed, and hempseed are good choices (click here for oil links). Consider using apricot kernel oil for oily skin - it's light, slightly astringent, has high levels of linoleic acid, phytosterols (for inflammation), and Vitamin E. Or consider soy bean oil. It offers great levels of linoleic acid, Vitamin E, and phytosterols, and it is very moisturizing to skin.

I haven't mentioned fractionated coconut oil much, although I love this oil! It's very light and moisturizing, although it is considered comedogenic by some scales. I would suggest trying this oil in combination with a light oil like apriocot kernel or soy bean oil to make it feel even lighter!

You can use whatever oils you want in an oily skin body butter. The key is to use light oils that won't feel too heavy on your oily skin.

And we come to the butters. Mango butter is usually what I'd recommend for someone with oily skin (like me) because it is a drier feeling butter. Cocoa butter will occlude and shea butter has great phytosterols, but both can feel very greasy on our skin. Having said this, if you have really oily skin, you want all the lovely astringent things, but if you have just plain old oily skin, then the odds are an astringent might feel too dry for you. So add the butter your skin likes best. I'm going to reduce the butters to 5% of the recipe - so it's really not so much a body butter as a very thick lotion.

Emulsifier & thickener: You can use BTMS if you like a drier feeling body butter or e-wax (Polawax) for a greasier feeling butter. I always include cetyl alcohol as a thickener in body butters because I want some serious glide over my skin. Plus it offers oil-free moisturization for oily skin.

IPM: This ester will make your body butter feel less greasy. Add it at 2% in your oil phase.

Finally the cool down phase...preservative, fragrance oil, and extracts!

Extracts: The oily skinned girl has many choices for extracts, it all depends on your skin type. For oily skin, rosemary, honeysuckle, grapeseed, cucumber, strawberry, and green tea extract will all offer astringency. If you're trying to combat inflamed skin, then green tea, chamomile, and rosemary would be great choices. (Remember to stay away from chrysanthemum extract if you are rosacea prone.) If you have wrinkled or pigmented skin, papaya might be a good choice as it is a fantastic exfoliator that will help skin shed. It can be a bit much for some skin types, so start at 0.25% and see how you handle it.

Silicones: We are trying to build occlusion here without a ton of butters, so adding dimethicone to your body butter will give it good slip and glide, and will offer an occlusive layer. Adding cyclomethicone will give your body butter a powdery after feeling.

30% aloe vera liquid or water
15.5% hydrosol of choice (chamomile or lavender are very nice!)
2% sodium lactate or sodium PCA or honeyquat
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed proteins of choice (I like oat protein)
0.5% allantoin

20% oils - soy bean oil
5% shea butter (or butter of choice)
8.5% emulsifier (e-wax, Polawax, or BTMS
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

0.5% extract of choice
0.5% extract of choice
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil

As you can see, there isn't a huge difference between a dry skin body butter and one for oily skin. Both contain the same levels of oils and butters - in different ratios - and we're including almost the same amount of heated water phase ingredients.

The differences between various lotions, creams, and body butters generally comes from the specific ingredients you change - oils, butters, extracts, hydrosols - not in the ratios in which we use them. The dry skin body butter will be much thicker, thanks to the increased butter amount, whereas the oily skin body butter will be thinner because of the increase in oils.

If we were to include all light oils, it would be less occlusive and more glidy. If we were to increase the butters, it would be more occlusive and less glidy. Take out the silicones and it's less occlusive and less oily (if you want to leave them out, increase your oil amount by up to 4%).

As a point of interest, here's a link to a light lotion without butters the oily skinned person might enjoy.

So it all comes down to the types of ingredients you choose.

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating anhydrous scrub bars for your skin type!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for dry skin

Let's formulate a body butter suitable for dry skin! For dry skin we want to include a lot of lovely humectants, oils containing linoleic acid or GLA, phytosterols like ß-sitosterol to help with moisturization and inflammation, anti-oxidants, and Vitamin E. If you have a damaged skin barrier, you'll want to include oils and butters containing some great phytosterols along with anti-inflammation and anti-itch ingredients!

Water: Well, we could use water, but why not use one of our exciting hydrosols or aloe vera? Aloe vera will provide soothing, anti-itching, and burn and wound healing qualities, and it acts as a humectant and film former. The choline can increase skin's hydration, and the ß-sitosterol also moisturizes. We need to include this!

What about hydrosols? We can use chamomile to reduce itching and inflammation or lavender to soothe and moisturize. (I'm going to use chamomile extract, so I could leave out the hydrosol or go with lavender. Your choice!)

If you don't have access to hydrosols or aloe vera, then just use water.

Humectants: We need as many humectants as possible! I'm thinking a minimum of 3% glycerin because it helps with skin hydration and restoring skin's barrier functions. We could increase this to 5% if you have really dry skin, but you might find it a bit sticky.

Sodium lactate would be a great inclusion because it has been shown not only to increase ceramide synthesis and increase desquamation rates, but it also increases skin's plasticity (which is sadly lacking in dry skin) and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. The down side is that it can make you more sun sensitive, so you want to use this at 2.5% or lower.

Or you could try sodium PCA, which is like sodium lactate without the sun sensitivity. The down side of sodium PCA? It is hard to find and far more expensive than the other humectants. Or we could go with something like honeyquat, which is a skin conditioner and great humectant.

Hydrolyzed proteins: I do love my hydrolyzed proteins, and a little goes a long way. All of the proteins or amino acids form a film on your skin and moisturize. Something like oat protein won't penetrate your skin, but will form a film. Phytokeratin, which is a blend of various proteins will form a film and will penetrate your skin. Low molecular weight silk amino acids actually penetrate your skin or hair and will offer moisturizing from within. If you're a dry skinned person, silk amino acids or Phytokeratin (or other low molecular weight proteins) are your best choice. Let's add them at 2% in our water phase.

Oils: There are far too many choices here, but we want to emphasize something with GLA or linoleic acid and ß-sitosterol (a phytosterol), so that narrows it down a bit. We could choose something like apricot kernel oil (good linoleic acid, good ß-sitosterol, but a little light) or macadamia nut oil (great ß-sitosterol, not enough linoleic acid, a little drying) or rice bran oil (good phytosterols in general, good linoleic acid levels), but I like soy bean oil for maximum moisturizing. Great levels of linoleic acid (53%) and high levels of ß-sitosterol make this the ideal choice for a dry skin moisturizer. It doesn't feel dry on your skin, it's inexpensive, and easy to find. It also has a long shelf life at up to 1 year thanks to the high levels of Vitamin E, which is great for moisturizing skin! Soy bean is simply awesome stuff!

If you want to go with an exotic oil, borage oil seems to be the best choice with 36% linoleic acid, 23% GLA, and ß-sitosterol. You could also choose cranberry or evening primrose oil. All of these oils tend to feel dry on your skin and get a bit spendy, but they would be amazing choices. If you have really dry, sensitive skin, definitely get some borage oil - it is fantastic for most, if not all, skin types and you can use it at 10% to get the benefits!

Butters: Okay, butters are vital for this recipe as they offer maximum occlusion and emolliency. They have oleic acid and stearic acid, both of which are great! Shea butter is generally my first choice for a moisturizing butter as it contains a lot of stearic acid, and it contains allantoin, which is a great occlusive ingredient. If you don't have shea butter or are allergic to it, then cocoa butter is a great choice as it is an approved barrier ingredient. It will, however, make your butter very stiff, so it's not usually my first choice. Mango butter is nice, but it does feel drier than these other butters, and is better suited for normal to oily skin.

How about some of the other, more exotic butters? Illipe butter contains some nice levels of phytosterols, but it is a little stiff in a body butter. Mowrah butter has a lower melting point - on par with shea butter - but since I don't know the phytosterol amounts, it's not something I'm going to use when I need ß-sitosterol. Kokum butter is very stiff, so not a great choice, and salt butter is a little stiff also. Murumuru butter has a lower melting point - sort of, as it spans 25˚C to 37˚C - but I can't find the phytosterol levels for this either.

I'm going with shea butter here, but I think I'll switch the oil and butter amounts so I get more linoleic acid. So 15% soy bean oil and 10% shea butter. If you want a more body butter-y consistency go with 15% butter and 10% oil. If you want a more body lotion consistency, go with 5% butter and 20% oils. (Then you can have 10% borage oil and 10% soy bean oil with 5% shea butter).

I'm adding 2% IPM to the body butter. This might seem weird because it makes things feel a bit less greasy, but we have a ton of greasy ingredients here, so reducing it slightly won't ruin the feeling too much. IPM is also a penetration enhancers, so it will help take active ingredients into the skin quicker.

Emulsifier and thickener: BTMS can be a very dry feeling emulsifier, so although it is conditioning to skin, it might feel too dry for someone with very dry skin. Emulsifying wax would be my first choice - Polawax to be exact - because I don't have access to other emulsifiers at the moment. So I'd suggest Polawax. Because we aren't changing the oil phase amount, 6% is just fine. And I'm using cetyl alcohol because it is more glidy than stearic acid. You can use stearic or cetearyl alcohol or any other thickener you like. Heck, you can leave the thickener out if you really want because the butters contain stearic acid, so they will thicken. I like the emolliency and glide of cetyl alcohol, so it stays in.

As a note, combining BTMS and cetyl alcohol together is a great idea - it will be substantive to your skin, meaning it will actually form a film on your skin. This is a great idea for people who want to reduce TEWL.

Cool down phase - extracts and other additives: Leaving out the preservative is not an option, so I'll use my liquid Germall Plus at 0.5% in the cool down phase. I like adding fragrance or essential oils at 1%, but you can reduce this to 0.5% or 0% if you want. Choose something you really like or an essential oil that offers some qualities you want in this body butter (I am not an expert on essential oils, so I won't make suggestions here!)

Let's take a look at extracts. Unfortunately, most extracts are not great for those who have dry skin. Most of them are astringent, thanks to all those polyphenols, and that's the last thing you need if you're a dry skinned girl! I think chamomile extract is a good choice here. It not only helps to reduce TEWL, but it is an anti-irritant that helps with mild exfoliation and is substantive to our skin. Let's include that at 0.5%. Ginseng extract at 0.5% might be of benefit here as it does form a light film thanks to the polysaccharides, but I don't have any, so I can't include it. And I think green tea extract belongs in everything because it is such an awesome anti-oxidant ingredient.

Oh, don't forget papaya extract! If you have pigmented or wrinkled skin, this will help increase desquamation. But don't go overboard with it - try it at 0.25% to start then work your way up!

Dimethicone is a fantastic occlusive ingredient (approved by the FDA). I suggest it at 2% in your cool down phase. This will also give a nice glidy feeling to your body butter/cream. If you want to leave it out, leave it out and add 2% to the water phase.

Okay, do we have everything? We've got humectants, occlusives, and emollients. We've added ingredients to help decrease TEWL and things to moisturize and soothe. I think we're ready to create our recipe.

30% aloe vera liquid
17% chamomile hydrosol
2% sodium lactate or sodium PCA or honeyquat
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed silk proteins or amino acids or Phytokeratin

15% oils - soy bean oil
10% shea butter
8% emulsifier (e-wax or Polawax)
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% green tea extract
2% dimethicone
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil

Instructions on lotion making can be found here...this post is already really long! And here's a link for a lighter body lotion for dry aging skin if you think this is too thick.

Note: I've increased the emulsifier to 8% because I now have 32% oils in this recipe.

As a note, it's very hard to formulate for stinging or allergic skin, so all I can suggest is that you try various things to see what makes your skin angry. If you aren't able to use aloe vera, for example, then leave it out and use something else.

If you have wrinkled skin, consider adding a little AHA in the form of Phytofruit or Multifruit or straight AHA into this recipe. If you use 3%, remove 3% from the aloe vera or hydrosol amount.

As a quick note, you'd want to make the same choices for a thinner body lotion - using all those great humectants, oils, conditioning agents, and so on - but you'll want to reduce the percentages of the oil phase and increase the water phase. I'll get into this shortly, but you can check out this post for a body lotion or this post for a light summer time body lotion.

Join me tomorrow for formulating body butters for oily skin.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Formulating for your skin type: Body butter

Our facial skin type is not always the same as our body skin type. I have oily-sensitive (rosacea)-non-pigmented-wrinkled skin on my face, but my body skin is fairly normal (except my back), fairly resistant, non-pigmented with some signs of aging. Take a look at the skin types again to see if your facial skin type differs from your body skin type!

What do we want in a body butter? We want maximum moisturizing through the use of emollients, occlusives, and humectants. For the most part, we can keep the general recipe the same by switching oils for other oils, humectants for other humectants, and so on.

I know, I know, this sounds surreal, right? There are probably a thousand recipes for different skin types out there - and probably a hundred thousand products - but the ingredients between them really don't differ that much. A dry skin lotion might contain more butters and humectants; an oily one might go for more astringent oils and fewer butters. Add a little Vitamin E and advertise that this one is for aging skin; add a little aloe vera and claim it's good for dry skin.

Here's the basic formulation from which I'll be working today...(Click here for the original body butter recipe with rationales for these percentages).

60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils
15% shea butter
6% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

Pretty basic, right? Let's take a look at our goals for each skin type...

Dry skin: Humectants and emollients galore, with an emphasis on using oils high in linoleic acid or GLA to help repair possible skin barrier damage. Occlusion can be achieved by using butters and heavier oils, as well as dimethicone.

Oily skin: Humectants galore, with an emphasis on lighter, possibly astringent oils, and a possible switch to using BTMS as the emulsifier for a drier feeling. We want to use more astringent extracts. Occlusion can be achieved by using allantoin and dimethicone with fewer butters.

Sensitive skin, acne prone: Probably not the product for you as it's kinda hard to formulate a body butter without a ton of oils and butters. A silicone based product might be the best choice for you.

Sensitive skin, rosacea prone: Lovely anti-inflammatories for your redness is always a good idea, so extracts, phytosterols, and soothing ingredients are your friend.

Pigmented skin: You might want to include some of those skin lightening ingredients like liquorice or strawberry extract, and use sunscreen on top of a body butter to prevent further sun damage.

Wrinkled skin: You want lots of humectants and emollients to help with skin's plasticity and elasticity, along with some anti-oxidants and inflammation reducers.

We want humectants galore in our dry skin lotions, to attract water from the atmosphere to keep our skin hydrated. We want occlusive ingredients to trap water in and keep the world out! We have a ton of ingredients to choose from as occlusive ingredients - butters and oils, extracts, dimethicone, and allantoin - so we have something for every type of formulating. And we want emollient ingredients, which soothe and moisturize our skin. This includes not only butters and oils but aloe vera, hydrosols, extracts, and conditioning agents.

Let's take a look at how to create a body butter or lotion to reduce trans-epidermal water loss. We want to formulate something that is very occlusive to trap in the water, and we know that a thick cream is more effective than a light lotion, so our goal is to create a thick cream with lots of humectants, occlusives, and emollients. Studies have shown that glycerin is great for increasing the hydration in dry skin, so this will be our primary humectant, but I'll throw in another one just to make sure we're good and hydrated. Lotions high in GLA or linoleic acid will help greatly with restoring skin's barrier mechanisms, so we definitely want some of those oils in there. We also want to choose oils high in ß-sitosterol, as it reduces itching, moisturizes, and reduces TEWL. We want something to occlude, so we can use some hydrosols or extracts as well as oils.

Join me tomorrow to put all these concepts together for a dry skin body butter!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Making a toner for the dry skin type - resistant or wrinkled

I really have to take more pictures of my toners! I hate using the same pictures all the time!

Yesterday we took a look at a toner suitable for a dry skinned, sensitive or wrinkled type to use as a moisturizer alone. If you want a toner to use after cleansing but before moisturizing...well, that's so much easier!

We'll use many of the ingredients from yesterday's recipe suitable for dry skin, but you'll see them in different ratios.

20% witch hazel
30% aloe vera
32.5% hydrosol - chamomile, lavender, rose
0.5% allantoin
2% glycerin or Hydrovance
2% sodium lactate
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
4% water soluble oil (ester)

2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
up to 1% other combined extracts
0.5% preservative

So what will we change? We don't need all those humectants. (You're using a moisturizer, so I'm assuming you have a ton of oils and humectants in there.) Choose one you like - glycerin, Hydrovance, sodium lactate, sodium PCA, and so on - and use that at 2%. You can leave out the cationic polymer and the water soluble oil as well (although I'd leave in a little cationic polymer because it's so lovely for our skin).

If you have AHA in your moisturizer, leave out the sodium lactate. You don't want too much exfoliating. If you don't have AHA, glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid in your moisturizer, then add some to the toner! 2% sodium lactate and up to 3% something like Multifruit or Phytofruit is a lovely addition to a toner for wrinkled skin!

What extracts and hydrosols you use will depend upon what's in your moisturizer! You can use any hydrosol you like in the toner - chamomile, lavender, or rose are good choices - and generally green tea, chamomile, and grapeseed extract are good for dry skin.

As for hydrolyzed proteins, silk seems to be a good choice for dry skin - let's leave that alone at 2% in the heated phase - because of its low molecular weight. Again, we're not worried about film forming if you're putting a moisturizer over top of it.

So let's take a look at formulating this for dry skin with wrinkles.

enough hydrosol to get to 100%
20% witch hazel
30% aloe vera
0.5% allantoin
2% humectant of choice
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein

2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% other extract
0.5% preservative
up to 3% Phytofruit or Multifruit BSC or other AHA product, or 1% to 2% AHA on its own

The reason I have "hydrosol to make up 100%" listed is thanks to the different percentages of AHA or Multifruit you could use.

Again, I can't stress this enough - do not use sodium lactate and the AHA products at the same time. If it is in your moisturizer, choose another humectant and leave out the AHA!

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating for different skin types!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making a toner for the dry skin type - rosacea or acne prone

Toners should be all about the moisturization if you are a dry skinned girl. Think of them as the step before you moisturize in the morning. Astringents are not your friends, so let's make a nice floral water splash to help hydrate your skin before you get out there and face the world!

BUT WAIT! We can't just go making a toner for dry skinned girls as we did with oily skinned girls because our goals are completely different! Dry skinned girls will probably use a moisturizer after cleansing, so we don't need to include tons of our water soluble moisturizers in this product! We can, however, focus on things like extracts, AHA, salicylic acid, and so on so we don't have to include those in a moisturizer! Almost like a "treatment" that can be used under moisturizer or a serum. So we need to think of two different recipes - one that might be used as a moisturizer and one that will be used as a precursor to a moisturizer!

IF YOU WANT TO USE TONER AS YOUR's probably not a fabulous idea if you have dry skin. But if you are rosacea prone or acne prone, oils aren't your friends. So we can make our goal to get you some serious moisturizing without oils! If you're unfortunate enough to have dry skin with rosacea and wrinkles, a toner type product might be the only thing your skin can handle!

As the basis for this kind of toner, we need to choose our liquids carefully. I'd suggest reducing the witch hazel to about 20% (it's still a great anti-inflammatory) and increasing the aloe vera to 30% (for all those lovely polysaccharides). You want to use some lovely hydrosols - chamomile, lavender, rose, and rosemary are good choices - although rosemary might be too much for dry skin, it does create a nice oily layer - to make up the rest of the water amount. You definitely need allantoin to create an occlusive layer, and you definitely want some film forming and conditioning agents.

Let's take a look at our humectants. Glycerin should always be the first humectant of choice for dry skin products. Various studies have shown that glycerin is incredibly effective for dry skin, so we want to include that at up to 3%. We could use more, but it can feel kinda sticky if you use too much. Hydrovance is a good choice in that it contains urea - something our skin likes - and it is a great humectant, but it can cause the pH of your product to drift over time, which isn't a fantastic thing to happen if you're a novice formulator.

If you have rosacea, acne prone, or wrinkled skin, there are four good reasons to use sodium lactate as your humectant of choice! It has been found to improve the barrier properties of our skin (in studies, there is a decrease in the trans epidermal water loss, which is a good thing), it is believed to stimulate ceramide synthesis in the skin, and it increases the plasticity of our skin. It also acts as a mild AHA on fine lines and wrinkles, which means it will also act as a light exfoliator. It can make us sun sensitive, though, above 3%, which is why we combine it at 2% with another humectant. (Oh, and it's quite inexpensive!)

Remember, if you have acne or rosacea prone dry skin, this means your skin's barrier layer is likely damaged. We would normally use linoleic acid or GLA containing oils, but your skin may not be able to handle oils (leading to break outs, for instance). As I mentioned above, sodium lactate at 2% can help with skin's barrier properties, but we need more - like conditioning polymers and hydrolyzed proteins to offer a film forming and moisturizing properties.

Conditioner polymers like honeyquat or polyquat 7 are great in toners as they condition and moisturize your skin as well as behaving like a humectant. Try either of them at 2 to 5%.

We need hydrolyzed proteins - choose something with low molecular weight like silk or Phytokeratin (a combination of proteins, some low molecular weight), which will penetrate your skin for great moisturizing.

And panthenol. It's a fantastic ingredient I always use at 2%. If you have a lot of inflammation or need more moisturizing, then you can up to 5% in your toner.

Finally, we come to the extracts. Most extracts have astringent qualities, which means they probably aren't the first choice for dry skinned types. But if we want to include a good anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, or anti-oxidant, then extracts are the way to go! Chamomile is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it can reduce TEWL (so it adds a little moisturizing), and it can help with the look of UV damaged skin! Ginseng forms a film on your skin, so it is very moisturizing. Grapeseed extract is a fantastic anti-oxidant with some anti-exfoliation properties (which makes it less of a good thing) and great anti-inflammatory properties. And green tea is generally fantastic with loads of anti-oxidizing and anti-microbial properties. You can use one or two of these in combination.

Chrysanthemum extract is suggested for people with rosacea type skin as it is a very good anti-inflammatory.

White willow bark is a good addition for all the sensitive or wrinkled skin types as it offers great exfoliation with great anti-inflammatories. If you are using this under a moisturizer that contains AHA or salicylic acid, do not include white willow bark, AHA, or salicylic acid in your toner - it's simply too much of a good thing!

And finally, our esters! A water soluble oil - I generally use PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil - is a great addition for dry skin toners as it offers all the goodness of an oil without having to use an emulsifier (which would then be a lotion, not a toner). I like to use it at around 4% or so, but you can go as high as 5% or as low as 1%. You can choose any water soluble oil you want - or leave it out entirely if your skin type can't handle it!

You could also try using 3% oil of choice with 3% polysorbate 80. Mix it well together before adding to the heated water. Remove 2% from the water phase. If you really want to use oils, I'd suggest the water soluble ones - polysorbate 80 can feel a little sticky on your skin.

Let's take a look at a toner suitable for dry, sensitive skin intended to be used as a moisturizer.

20% witch hazel
30% aloe vera
32.5% hydrosol - chamomile, lavender, rose
0.5% allantoin
2% glycerin or Hydrovance
2% sodium lactate
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
4% water soluble oil (ester)

2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
up to 1% other combined extracts
0.5% preservative

For rosacea, I suggest chamomile and chrysanthemum extracts.

For acne prone skin, I suggest white willow bark and honeysuckle extracts.

For wrinkled skin, I suggest grapeseed and white willow bark. As well, consider using something like Phytofruit or Multifruit at up to 3% and remove the white willow bark (too much exfoliation isn't a good thing!)

You can use any combination you like as long as you aren't putting a ton of exfoliating types together!

So how is this really different from a toner for normal or oily skin? The emphasis on moisturizing ingredients! The esters for one, and a ton of humectants designed to help with skin moisturization. Sodium lactate is generally in my products as a humectant, but here I'm using it as a skin barrier repair product and exfoliant. I'm still keeping it below 3% to avoid sun sensitivity, but I've combined it with other humectants for maximum moisture!

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating an under the moisturizer toner for dry skin types!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Making a toner for the oily skin type - creating the recipe

Okay, so we have the general idea of what we want to include, so let's get started on making a toner! With the idea in mind of being careful when we combine extracts, I suggest you choose one you really like to start off with, then add a second one when you see how your skin reacts to it.

Oily skin, resistant: Again, you can choose whatever extracts or liquids you like, so here's the standard suggested recipe and you can add what you like! I've chosen rosemary hydrosol and rosemary extract as rosemary is great for oily skin, creates a moisturizing layer, and offers great anti-oxidants. Green tea offers great anti-oxidants and other lovely goodies!

26% water
30% witch hazel (the kind without alcohol)
25% rosemary hydrosol (or other hydrosol of choice)
10% aloe vera liquid
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein
3% honeyquat
0.5% allantoin

2% panthenol
0.5% powdered rosemary extract
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% preservative (I use Germall Plus)

Oily skin, acne prone: We'll switch this recipe to include white willow bark or salicylic acid at 0.5%, chamomile hydrosol, and honeysuckle or chamomile for the extracts. We also want to include sodium lactate to help with acne and a little light exfoliation.

26% water
30% witch hazel
25% chamomile hydrosol
10% aloe vera liquid
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein
3% honeyquat
0.5% allantoin

2% panthenol
0.5% white willow bark or salicylic acid
0.5% honeysuckle extract
0.5% preservative (I use Germall Plus)

Oily skin, rosacea type: I'd suggest using the recipe above but switch out the honeysuckle extract for chamomile and consider using either chamomile or lavender hydrosol. Also, I'm finding my skin is a little sensitive to sodium lactate lately, so I'm choosing to use hydrovance or sodium PCA right now. See what your skin likes! (Just because I like it doesn't mean you will!)

Oily skin, pigmented type: You can use any of the recipes above - depending if you have resistant, acne prone, or rosacea type skin - but include strawberry or liquorice extract at 0.5% and in place of one of the extracts.

Oily skin, wrinkled type: We'll have to make up a new formula for you as we need to include a few other things. Consider adding 0.5% Vitamin C in the heated phase of your product. Stir it very well! You can use 0.5% papaya extract or strawberry extract to get the Vitamin C as well.

Also, consider adding up to 10% (I wouldn't go over 3% if I were you, but if your skin can handle it...) of the Multifruit or Phytofruit products to get that AHA you want! (If you don't have this, leave it out). Make sure you don't have too many exfoliating things in one product.

You definitely want some grapeseed or green tea extract in there - choose one or both - and we want to include some more moisturizers in there. Let's go with a little extra humectant - no sodium lactate for you if you're using AHA - like hydrovance (urea is great for wrinkled skin) and glycerin together (again, great!) We'll also reduce the witch hazel and water because we want to increase the moisturizing nature of the aloe vera! You might also consider using silk protein as it will penetrate your skin, or something like Phytokeratin, which has both large and small molecules for film forming and skin penetration. I'm getting rid of the water - if you don't have a hydrosol, then use water in its place.

20% witch hazel (the kind without alcohol)
32% hydrosol of choice
30% aloe vera liquid
3% hydrovance
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
3% honeyquat
0.5% allantoin

2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% grapeseed extract
up to 3% Phytofruit, Multifruit, or other AHA liquid stuff
(0.5% if you are using straight AHA, increase water amount by 2.5%)
0.5% preservative (I use Germall Plus)

Well, there you have a few ideas on how to formulate a toner for your oily skin type. Join me tomorrow for fun formulating a toner for the dry skin type!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making a toner for the oily skin type - choosing your ingredients!

Toner is the ideal product for an oily skin type because it contains a lot of wonderful astringents and it can behave as a water based moisturizer. It doesn't take much to adapt this recipe for acne prone, rosacea, or wrinkled skin types types, so let's take a look at how to make an oily skin toner, then adapt it!

up to 85% water based ingredients like aloe vera, hydrosols, and witch hazel
3% to 5% humectants
3 to 5% film formers and cationic quaternary polymers
3% to 5% moisturizers
2% panthenol
up to 1% extracts (including allantoin)
up to 1% preservative

For very oily skin, you'll want to use a goodly portion of witch hazel in your water portion. I'd go with at least 30% and consider going to 40%. It's astringent, but increases blood circulation while soothing. It is a good anti-inflammatory and contains great anti-oxidants, and all skin types can benefit from those qualities!

As for the other liquids, aloe vera is a fantastic ingredient for moisturizing, and there are some lovely hydrosols just perfect for oily skin. For oily skin, consider clary sage, neroli, rosemary, lavender, or rose hydrosols. For acne, consider honeysuckle or chamomile hydrosols as well as the others. For rosacea, try chamomile or lavender, as both are soothing and anti-inflammatory.

We want to add a barrier ingredient to this recipe, but cocoa butter and dimethicone are not the oily or sensitive skinned girl's friends. So we turn to allantoin. Add it at 0.5% to get some great anti-inflammatory and barrier qualities into your toner.

Humectants are vital for a toner you will be using as a moisturizing ingredient. Glycerin is generally the first choice for a humectant, but it could feel sticky on your skin, so use it at no more than 3%. I love sodium lactate and sodium PCA in a toner, but they can make you sun sensitive, so use it at no more than 2%. You can use Hydrovance at up to 3% as well.

As a note, at 3% sodium lactate is exfoliating, so if you need a little exfoliation and can wear a sun screen over it, try it at 3% in this toner recipe.

How about those cationic polymers? Honeyquat and polyquat 7 are humectants and conditioning polymers, so they work double duty. You can add either of these at up to 3% of your recipe! They are great for all skin types, and work well in hair care products - so I suggest always having some of this on hand.

Film formers are also very important for moisturizing without oils. So consider adding 2% hydrolyzed protein into this toner. You will have to think about which one works for you. I find hydrolyzed oat protein works well for my oily, rosacea type skin - silk penetrates my skin and annoys it, for some reason. Aloe vera will also act as a film former, as will some of the extracts you might want to consider.

How can we get moisturizers into a toner? We are already using quite a few - aloe vera, some of the hydrosols, the film formers, the humectants, and the cationic polymers - but we could include something like water soluble olive oil or soy bean oil or something of that nature. Make sure they are water soluble, and use them at no more than 3%!

Panthenol is great for all skin types.

Extracts are fun inclusions in a toner! As an oily skinned girl, you can choose from a variety of extracts - most offer are astringent and good anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Green tea and rosemary extract are great for all oily skin types as they are slightly astringent, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Interestingly enough, strawberry extract is a great extract for all these skin types, as it contains a lot of anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant qualities. Papaya is an extract suggested for oily skin types, but if you have sensitive skin, it will likely be too exfoliating for you (but do try it just to see!) Cucumber is also suggested for most oily skin types, but some sensitive skin types might find it too much! Chamomile is a great extract for most oily skin types - it is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it can reduce TEWL (so it adds a little moisturizing), and it can help with the look of UV damaged skin!

If you have oily skin, no sensitivity, then you can choose from pretty much any of the astringent extracts with anti-oxidant qualities (choose any of the ones below!).

If you have acne prone skin, concentrate on those extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities like white willow bark (not anti-bacterial), chrysanthemum, comfrey root, and honeysuckle. Also consider using salicylic acid in your products, but not in combination with white willow bark! (See below.)

If you have rosacea prone skin, concentrate on those extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities like white willow bark (contains salicylic acid), comfrey root, and chamomile. You will want to stay away from chrysanthemum extract as it can exacerbate rosacea (although us rosacea types don't necessarily have rosacea, you might want to test it out before adding it a lovely leave-on product!)

If you have pigmented skin, you want to concentrate on extracts with skin lightening qualities, such as strawberry or liquorice extract.

If you have wrinkled skin, concentrate on extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. You can use green tea or grapeseed extract, Vitamin C, or something like Phytofruit or Multifruit BSC to get some AHA into the mix! (These are much easier to use than straight AHA.) Horsetail extract is showing some promise in helping with fine lines and contains a lot of Vitamin C, as is honeysuckle extract (lots of Vitamin C). Ginseng might help with collagen maintenance.

For those of you with acne prone or wrinkled skin, you can add a little salicylic acid to your creations either through the use of 0.5% white willow bark or 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid (start low and increase when you see how your skin tolerates it). Wrinkled skin can try a little AHA as well - again, start at 0.5% and work your way up.

And preservatives. Well, there's no debate there - you need them!

A note on essential oils in something like this. If you are including oils, you'll need an emulsifier. Try polysorbate 20 for this application. One disclaimer - although essential oils are from the land of awesome, do you really want a smell on your face all day long? And oils don't tend to be an oily girl's friend, so you might want to make up a small batch of product and try it out before adding it to a large batch you want to use regularly!

Wow, this post is far too long! So join me tomorrow for putting it all together for your skin type!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Periodic tables of awesomeness!

You know I'm a chemistry fan - hey, I married a man named Nichols so I could be Susan Ni2 - so here are a few most excellent periodic tables for your amusement...

The periodic table of awesomements! It's so awesome, it should have its own place on the periodic table of awesomements...which gets into a whole weird TV inside a TV kinda of thing and my head already hurts...

Periodic table on an elephant (representing elephantium)?

I need this periodic table table in my backyard!

For the more artistic reader, the periodic table printmaking project.

Non-chemistry related periodic tables (check out the Canadian one! Rush finally takes its rightful place on the periodic table!)

And the epitome of periodic tables - the periodic table of periodic tables! You will be here for hours!

What your donations pay for!

Thank you to the amazing and kind donations from readers of this blog. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this post...)

If you want to see some of the pictures of our kids' creations, please check out my craft groups album on Picasa. Unfortunately, I can't put up pictures of the Chilliwack/Yarrow Youth Games Guild or Rated T for Teen (video club) as the kids are identifiable! The pictures I have up there so far are from two polymer clay classes, two mineral make-up classes, and one cupcake & cooking decorating class. Pictures from our most recent polymer class class (say that fast, it's fun!) and our sushi making class are coming soon!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Making a toner for your skin type - the basic recipe

One of the first recipes I posted when I started this blog was a detailed post about toners. I've learned a lot since then, so let's update that recipe with all the stuff we've learned about hydrosols, extracts, water soluble oils, and so on!

For a toner, you will want to stick to all water soluble ingredients because we don't want to add an emulsifier. Why? Because a lot of the emulsifiers are sticky, and we want something that is easily sprayable (yes, I like a spray bottle for ease of use) and we don't want any stickiness on our skin! So we'll find ways of adding water soluble ingredients that won't add stickiness and will behave like some of our favourite oil soluble ingredients.

FOR ALL SKIN TYPES: Is toner suitable for all skin types?

For oily skin, the answer is quite clearly yes! Toners, by definition, tend to be astringent, so this will help decrease some sebum production. It is a great way to moisturize without oils, and I use it as the last step in my morning routine for that reason.

If you have acne prone skin, you can add some salicylic acid and anti-bacterial ingredients, and get moisturizing without oils.

For rosacea prone skin, it's a fantastic way to add anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, as well as a little allantoin to act as a barrier ingredient.

For pigmented skin, you could add some liquorice extract or Vitamin C to help with tyrosine inhibition, and get some exfoliation from AHA or salicylic acid.

For wrinkled skin, you can use it as a way to include AHA or salicylic acid for exfoliation, anti-oxidants, and lightly moisturizing ingredients.

The one skin type for whom a toner might not work well would be the dry skin type. Astringents are not your friends. So instead, I suggest the dry skin type think about a toner as more of a floral or extract splash to make her skin feel well hydrated before putting on moisturizer. If you can trap in some moisture - good moisture full of lovely extracts, hydrosols, and so on - then the moisturizer will work better!

up to 85% water based ingredients like aloe vera, hydrosols, and witch hazel
3% to 5% humectants
3 to 5% film formers and cationic quaternary polymers
3% to 5% moisturizers
2% panthenol
up to 1% extracts (including allantoin)
up to 1% preservative

Toners are mostly water, so let's make that water part something awesome by including hydrosols, aloe vera, or witch hazel. We want humectants to moisturize without oils, and we want moisturizers like water soluble oils for skin types that can handle it. We need panthenol in there - there's just too much goodness for every skin type to ignore it - and we need our preservative. You'll want to include some lovely extracts in there to act as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, soothing, or healing (not a claim!) ingredients.

Join me tomorrow to customize this recipe for oily skin!

Working with your skin type

So you've read all the posts on skin types, and you've figured out what you do you put it into action? Look at the goals of each skin type and the suggested ingredients, then figure out what would work best as a starting point for your formulations.

As a note, I'm finding that what's applicable to my facial skin isn't necessarily applicable for my body skin. My elbows are seriously trashed right now - all that walking around in the winter without a coat and short sleeved shirts is finally taking its toll. So I consider myself dry to normal in the body skin department!

I'll use my skin type as an example - I'm an oily, rosacea prone, non-pigmented, wrinkled or OSNW.

For oily skin, the goal is to reduce sebum, so I want to use mild cleansers and astringents, avoid oils, and enjoy some light exfoliation.

For rosacea type skin, the goal is to reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals, so I want to use mild cleansers, anti-oxidants, increase moisturization without oils, and create a little occlusion.

For non-pigmented skin, the goal is not to become pigmented, so I need to use sunscreen regularly. (Although I am covered in moles - not raised ones, but little flat ones - that I've had my entire life! But those don't count!)

For wrinkled skin, the goal is to maintain collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, so I need to moisturize, use surface smoothing agents like quats and silicones, exfoliate, and use anti-oxidants.

Fortunately for me, these goals go together well. I need to reduce my sebum production, reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals, and moisturize my skin well. I should avoid oils and butters, use mild surfactants, and enjoy some light exfoliation. Humectants are important in all categories, so I need to remember to load up on those, and I could benefit from cationic quaternary compounds.

Let's say you're a dry skinned, resistant, pigmented, wrinkled person (DRPW). You want to use mild cleansers and increase your moisturization through oils, butters, and humectants. If your skin is resistant, then you likely don't have skin barrier repair damage, so you can choose the butters and oils you like! If you have pigmented skin, you'll want to look at including Vitamin C or liquorice extract and some exfoliants like salicylic acid or jojoba or clay beads. And if you have wrinkled skin, you'll want lots of moisturizers and humectants in your products, as well as anti-oxidants and light exfoliants.

The goals for you are to use lovely oils and butters, humectants, anti-oxidants, exfoliants (like AHA), and things to make the spots go away. (And you'll want to wear lots of sunscreen!)

Let's say you're a normal skinned, resistant, non-pigmented, non-wrinkled person. You are either under the age of 10 or really really fortunate. You can use whatever you want. You will want to wear sunscreen so you can stay as lovely as you are, and you'll want to grow a thicker stratum corneum to repel all those envious stares you feel bouncing off your skin!

So let's take our first look at formulating for different skin types with a basic toner recipe!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wrinkled (W) or tight (T)

There's not much to say about the tight or T skin type. You have no wrinkles and no sagging, and we all envy you. So let's focus on the wrinkled or W skin type.

How do we define aging skin? It is skin that has...
  • dermal and epidermal atrophy (sagging, wrinkling, coarseness)
  • reduction in amount of collagen
  • hyperkeratosis (thickening of the stratum corneum)
  • reduced number of melanocytes, Langerhans cells, and fibroblasts
  • shortening of the telomeres on our chromosomes
  • reduction in sebum production
What causes aging? There's the natural deterioration of our bodies as we age - it's theorized this has to do with the shortening of the telomeres on our chromosomes (the specialized structures that shield the end of our chromosomes), but there's nothing we can do about that! It's a genetic thing, and it's the stuff of science fiction that we can play with those telomeres to extend our lives or our appearance.

We can control the effects of the external world on the aging process, so let's take a look at our exposure to various chemicals and the sun and how it affects our skin.

Photo-aging is defined as aging due to exposure to the sun. UVA light (longer wavelength, 320 to 340 nm) penetrates deeper into our skin to mess with the keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts (these are cells that give skin its strength and resilience). It also acts to generate reactive oxygen species in our skin (like the superoxide anion, hydroxyl radicals, and peroxides), which can provoke DNA damage. UVA produces long term actinic damage (the photo-chemical effects of exposure to the sun) and melanin formation or tanning.

UVB light (a shorter wavelength, 280 to 320 nm) can also generate reactive oxygen species, and can damage DNA directly. It contributes to immunosuppressive, mutagenic, and carcinogenic effects of sunlight. UVB light is the main cause of acute sun burn and sun tanning effects - UVA light makes up about 15% to 24% of these effects.

Reactive oxygen species lead to the depletion of skin's natural anti-oxidant system, which causes oxidative stress, which can lead to tissue damage.

Too much sunlight can also result in an inflammatory response, either by sunburn or through overexposure. Inflammation can result in a sunburn - redness, swelling, and pain - or in the break down of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Once these are broken down through inflammation, it's really hard to build them back up.

All three can be maintained by use of topical retinoids. Collagen can be maintained by Vitamin C (oral or topical), or copper peptide. Oral glucosamine may help maintain our levels of hyaluronic acid. But nothing can rebuild lost elastin, oral or topical.

Sunburns are particularly awful for our skin. Sunburn is defined as chronic inflammation with the release of proteolytic enzymes of the inflammatory system that disrupts the dermal matrix (collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid). The redness, or erythema, is produced by the inflammation.

How do you know if Mr. Sun is the culprit in your skin concerns? Here are a few symptoms (other than a deep sunburn)...
  • actinic keratosis - thick or scaly patches on your skin
  • solar elastosis - vertical creases, deep wrinkles, or loose and sagging skin (thanks to the breakdown of collagen and elastin)
  • yellowing of your skin
  • senile purpura (age spots)
  • solar comedones - small cysts on our skin (treat with acne related products)
  • broken blood vessels - like those found in rosacea type skin
  • extreme dryness, roughness, or laxity of the skin
  • fine or coarse wrinkles (not really all that helpful 'cause we all get these!)
How can we treat aging or wrinkled skin?

Moisturize! Use those oils, butters, humectants, and cationic ingredients to make your skin feel well hydrated and smooth. Our sebum production drops after about age 50, and is almost down to nothing by age 70. Moisturize often and well!

Use surface smoothing agents like quaternary compounds, hydrolyzed proteins, and silicones to treat skin roughness.

Retinoids, topical and oral, can help reverse fine wrinkles, skin pigmentation issues, and rough skin surfaces. But there are lots of lovely side effects to topical retinoids that almost everyone will see such as inflammation, scaling, and redness. (I used prescription Retin-A for quite a few years to help with acne, and it ruined my skin permanently! Not that this will happen to you!)

Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, which will remove superficial layers of skin to exfoliate. You can also use light exfoliation to accomplish this goal.

Although some studies show that topical anti-oxidants aren't as effective as taking oral anti-oxidants (specifically Vitamin C), we can use Vitamin C, Vitamin E, CoQ10, and the plant anti-oxidants, specifically green tea polyphenols, soy isoflavones like genistein and daidzein, pomegranate oil or extract tannins, and resveratrol in grape seeds.

UV protection is essential! Use at least 15 to 20 SPF every single day!

Join me tomorrow for formulating for your skin type!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Question: Ammonium

From an anonymous commentor comes this question...
I read the following from your pdf on conditioners: The main conditioning agent in BTMS (behentrimonium methosulfate) is a cationic quaternary ammonium salt derived from rapeseed oil (the plant for canola oil).

My questions are: Any of the shampoos that have ammonium sulfates in them totally wreck my hair. I can use SLeS shampoo fine. But the ALS ones are just awful. This makes me wonder, would the ammonium salt in the BTMS be bad for my hair too? Or is it a totally different kind of ammonium?

Ammonium is ammonium - the molecule is the same (NH4). It's what is connected to that ammonium molecule that makes it a negatively charged ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) molecule or a positively charged BTMS molecule.

ALS is only slightly less irritating than SLS, so it is more likely to be the fact that what are called the alkyl sulfates are considered to be amongst the least mild surfactants in shampoos. (They're nice and cheap, which is why they show in commercial shampoos all the time.)

It is also possible that another ingredient in the shampoo is causing you problems. Perhaps there's an association between shampoos that use ALS and the use of silk, or the type of thickener they use (salt works with some surfactants, but others need different thickeners). There are tons of ingredients in a shampoo - it's hard to pick out just one that might be annoying your hair!

As for conditioners, most cationic quaternary compounds we use - including BTMS, cetrimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide - contain ammonium as the positively charged molecule that makes a conditioner a conditioner. Most - if not all - of the cationic polymers like honeyquat, polyquat 10 and so on - contain an ammonium molecule. And many of the new hybrid silicones contain ammonium. So if you've used a commercial conditioner in your life, you've used something with the ammonium molecule.

I don't think I'm qualified to diagnose problems, but if I had to make a guess, I'd say the ammonium molecule isn't your culprit!

SPF - what exactly does that mean?

What is sun protection factor or SPF? How is it defined? SPF is defined as...
the dose of UV radiation required to produce 1 minimal erythema dose (MED) on protected skin after the application of 2 mg/cm2 of produce divided by the UV radiation to produce 1 MED on unprotected skin.

In other words, it's how much of this stuff you need to use to protect your skin from a dose of radiation that would affect unprotected skin. The higher the number, the more protection you should get.

"Water resistant" sun screen must maintain its SPF after immersion in water for 40 minutes.

"Very water resistant" sunscreen must maintain its SPF after immersion in water for 80 minutes.

Broad spectrum or full coverage sunscreen will protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

So why do we care about sunscreen? Because it is one of the key things you can do every single day to slow down the photo-aging process (join me tomorrow for that topic...)

And please don't make your own. There are so many factors that go into making sunscreen and we can't test it to make sure it is effective! (If you are interested in learning more, this is a great PDF on the topic. So much to think about!)

Query: How do you know you're sensitive or allergic to things?

A question keeps popping into my head - how do we know we're sensitive or allergic to something? I see comments by people all the time (not on this blog, but other forums) saying "I'm allergic to quaternium-15" or "I can't use fill in the blank because I break out", but I'm always curious - how did you figure this out?

Bath & body products are complicated things. A body wash can contain anionic surfactants, amphoteric surfactants, cationic polymers, hydrolyzed proteins, esters, thickeners, preservatives, fragrance, and so on. Even within that list you see different types of surfactants - sulfates, sulfonates, sulfosuccinates, glucosides, etc. How do you figure out amongst that giant list that one thing you shouldn't use?

Before I made my own products, every single thing I used had to be "sensitive skin, unfragranced" type stuff. Now I can use anything I want, including fragrance oils! (Yay!) What changed? What within those store bought products bothered my skin? I've never used SLS in any of my products - it is one of the least compatible with skin (meaning, more irritating) than the surfactants I use now - so I could extrapolate and say it was SLS, but I can't say for sure. Or could it be the lack of moisturizing ingredients? Or the type of preservative? With a list of ingredients a paragraph long, it's hard to figure out exactly what annoyed my skin so much.

I found out my hair didn't like silk by adding it a conditioner recipe that worked well for my hair. I changed one thing - 2% silk - so it seems obvious that was the culprit! But really, I could have put a tiny bit more BTMS or a little less cetac or a tiny bit more preservative in the mix and that could have caused the problem. (I have tried it a few times and I frizz out every time, so trial and error worked in this case...)

Just curious how you found out a certain ingredient didn't work for you!

Pigmented (P) or non-pigmented (N)

We have arrived at our third skin type - pigmented or non-pigmented. This is defined by pigmentation on the face or chest, not by the colour of your skin. The key is that this hyperpigmentation is unwanted, and is generally caused by too much sun exposure.

Melanogenesis is a defensive mechanism our skin uses to protect it from too much sun exposure. It is characterized by production of melanin, which are transferred to the keratinocytes, producing darkened skin. In darker skinned people, the melanin breaks down more slowly than in light skinned people. (We generally call this a tan or freckling...)

There is another type of pigmented skin type - those with vitiligo. The body's immune system attacks the melanin and leaves the skin unpigmented. The treatment for this? Wear lots and lots of lots of sunscreen or clothing when outside, and avoid direct sunlight. You can't tan those areas, so you just end up with darker skin around the white patches, so the only thing to do if you want to hide them is to use a coloured foundation. (If you don't know this already, my husband has vitiligo. He has huge white streaks through his hair and beard, with quite a number of white eye lashes. He's very pale, so it looks good on him.) This can be a very difficult condition for those who have anything but very pale skin. This is definitely something you want to discuss with your doctor.

Usually having a tan isn't an issue - unless you've gone all orange from fake tanning, and you're on your own there! - but having age spots can be. These are light brown to black spots found on the parts of our bodies that have had a great deal of sun exposure. The melanin is produced, but doesn't go away. This is a problem for those of us over 40, as our skin can't regenerate quickly after sun exposure. The age spot is a symptom of too much sun exposure and not enough regeneration. It isn't generally a medical problem, but it can mask skin cancer in rare cases.

You can use ingredients that inhibit tyrosine to treat these problems. (Tyrosine is a key component of melanin production). Such ingredients include hydroquinone, arbutin, Vitamin C, kojic acid, mulberry extract, or liquorice extract. You can also use something like niacinamide, a derivative of Vitamin B3 that can hinder the melanin from being transferred to the keratinocytes.

I cannot suggest how to incorporate these ingredients into your products because you really need to study up before using them. I suggest finding a product you like with one of these ingredients, then seeing how your skin reacts and the level used in said product before formulating your own.

You can also use exfoliating products to help with overpigmented skin. If you can get the cell turnover rate on your skin to increase faster than the production of melanin, then you will see a lessening of those spots. You can use AHA or salicylic acid in your products, or you can use mechanical exfoliation in the form of a washcloth, light brush, or clay or jojoba beads (or other light exfoliants) in your products.

If you are in the non-pigmented category, stay there by using lots of sunscreen, wearing hats or protective clothing, and avoiding direct sunlight. In fact, stay out of the sun: Stay home and play video games, play in your workshop, and enjoy some TV. (Okay, that last sentence probably isn't the best advice.)

Join me tomorrow for the last of the categories - wrinkled (W) or tight (T) skin.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sensitive (S) skin type - allergic type

The final type of sensitive skin types is the allergic type skin. This skin type exhibits redness, swelling, itching, and skin flaking when exposed to something to which the skin is allergic. Approximately 23% of women and 13.8% of men in Great Britain exhibit this skin type, and most of the reactions in personal care products come from fragrance oils or preservatives. Those with dry skin are most likely to have impaired skin barrier function, and they are more likely to exhibit this skin type, although oily skinned people can have a reaction as well.

A true allergic reaction can take up to few days to show itself in the form of dry, itchy, inflamed skin, as opposed to the stinging sensation which is immediate.

If you are exhibiting allergic reactions to fragrance oils, stop using them or try different ones. You could be reacting to a number of different components in the oils, and it's hard to tell which ones cause the reaction. The main culprits in fragance oil allergies are cinnamic alcohols and aldehydes, citronellol, geranol, and linalool, most of which are generated from essential oils (which means switching to an essential oil won't help...). Where do we find these culprits? In cinnamon, aniseed, star anise, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, bay leaf, parsley, ginger, paprika, pepper, cumin, and coriander, to name a few. If you can handle essential oils but not fragrance oils, then it is very likely that fragrance is not the culprit. (Remember, I'm not a doctor and these are not diagnoses, just thoughts...)

If you are exhibiting allergic reactions to preservatives, the main culprit is likely to be one of these five things - Diazolidinyl Urea (liquid Germall Plus and Germaben II), Imidazolidinyl urea (DMDM hydantoin), Bronopol (not sure which one contains this, but it's nothing on my preservative page), or quaternium-15 (again, I haven't used one of these). You'll to have find another preservative that works for you - interestingly enough, allergic reactions to parabens are quite rare, so those are a good option.

There are other things to which you can be allergic - anything with proteins, aloe vera, butters, and so on - but that is far beyond the purview of this post. So I'm not going to suggest any possible ingredients for people with an allergic skin type because you're better off visiting a doctor or dermatologist for patch or skin types. If you do have this skin type, figuring out exactly what is bothering you won't be easy and formulating might be a little difficult, but it's worth it because you shouldn't be in agony!

Sensitive (s) skin type - stinging type

Sensitive skin type, stinging type, is characterized by a tendency to experience almost immediate stinging or burning sensations in response to various ingredients used in our products. If you have stinging with redness or inflammation, odds are you have the rosacea type skin. Stinging type skin isn't generally accompanied by redness or inflammation - both of which are found in the other sensitive skin types.

There aren't a lot of suggestions on how to treat this skin type - there's more information on what to avoid that might cause stinging. Here are a few things to avoid...
You may have a stinging response to any or all of these ingredients. If you want to see your response to these things, don't use them neat - most of us will have an adverse reaction to 100% AHA or urea. (Okay, shea butter is an exception to this as you could use it at 100%). Try diluting the ingredient with water or oil to the appropriate level for that ingredient, then try it. (And remember, sometimes expecting a response can produce the sensation...)

As a note, this is not an allergic response, so if you can't have these ingredients, you aren't necessarily allergic to them. And a sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate does not mean you are sensitive to the other sulfate or sodium based surfactants out there. SLS is a very strong detergent - the rest (like SLSa, SLeS, SCI, and so on) are very mild and quite lovely for our skin.