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.
MODIFIED BODY BUTTER FOR DRY SKIN
30% aloe vera liquid
17% chamomile hydrosol
2% sodium lactate or sodium PCA or honeyquat
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
COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% green tea extract
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.