Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Neutrogena Oil-Free Cream Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

Let's take a look at a facial cleanser intended for acne prone skin, Neutrogena's Oil-Free Cream Cleanser with Salicylic Acid (2%).

Water: Necessary and welcome. Our solvent.

Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate: We know this is a great surfactant for oily skin.

Cocamidopropyl betaine: The amphoteric surfactant that increases mildness and viscosity.

Cetearyl alcohol & stearyl alcohol: These are very like cetyl alcohol, but they are longer fatty acid chains, and are included to offer oil-free moisturizing and the creamy feeling of the product. These can have an impact on the foam and lather of a product. Cetearyl alcohol is a blend of stearyl and cetyl alcohol.

Di-C12-15 alkyl fumarate: A skin moisturizer or emollient. Some companies are using it as an anti-aging ingredient.

Coco glucoside: A non-ionic surfactant that is very gentle on our skin.

DEA Cetyl Phosphate: In the same family as cocamide DEA, it is an emulsifier and surfactant. It may boost foam and lather. Contains phospholipids, which are also found on our skin, and adds a creamy feeling and texture. Good for sensitive skin. It's added in the heated water stage of the creation.

Matricaria Flower Extract (chamomilla recutita): Chamomile extract, specifically German chamomile. We know this is a good anti-inflammatory that reduces redness. 

Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Extract: Aloe vera is good for reducing inflammation and producing a light film on your skin for more moisturizing. 

Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Extract: Roman chamomile is considered to be less potent than German chamomile, and is slightly cheaper. 

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose: A thickener to increase viscosity in surfactant systems. 

Potato Starch (solanum tuberosum): Can be used as a thickener or an emulsifier in surfactant systems. 

Propylene Glycol: A humectant often used to decrease the freezing temperature of products. 

Fragrance (Parfum): Makes it smell pretty! As there is no preservative listed, this could also be the preservative. 

2% salicylic acid: We know salicylic acid is a powerful anti-inflammatory and ingredient great for acne prone skin. 

So what we have in this product are a lot of nice extracts and hydrosols, some salicylic acid to reduce inflammation and acne, gentle surfactants good for oily skin, fatty alcohols for oil-free moisturizing and creaminess, and thickeners intended to increase mildness and viscosity. In short, a nice looking product. 

Can we replicate it? Sure. Why not! The key to this appears to be to use a nice level of surfactants - we have access to the surfactants used in this product, so I'm thinking maybe 20% or so - and the inclusion of the fatty acids to offer creamy cleansing. We did formulate something similar - with water soluble oils instead of the fatty acids - when we formulated the creamy, exfoliating facial cleanser for acne prone skin on Monday. You could use glycol distearate here as thickener and emollient - it's specially designed to work with surfactant systems. And we can add the cocamide DEA to thicken and offer oil-free moisturizing as well. I have no idea where to get the Di-C12-15 alkyl fumarate, so I have to hope we have enough oil free emolliency from the cocamide DEA or glycol distearate.

For the extracts, I'll use 10% chamomile hydrosol, 10% aloe vera, 0.5% chamomile extract, 0.5% white willow bark or salicylic acid (you can try 2% salicylic acid as per the recipe, but I know that will not play well with my skin!) As for the propylene glycol, I can use that at 2% or another humectant. Sodium lactate is good for acne prone skin, but it rinses off easily. Glycerin can bother people who have sensitive skin. I think I'll use honeyquat here because it can behave as a humectant and conditioner. Panthenol might be a good choice, too (it acts as a humectant).

53% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile extract
10% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
5% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% decyl glucoside
2% glycol distearate or cocamide DEA

2% honeyquat or glycerin
2% panthenol
0.5% white willow bark
0.5% to 1% preservative

I'm not including fragrance oils in here because I don't think I could take the smell all day long. If you want to add them, consider using essential oils at 0.5% to 1% that might be good for your skin type. You might want to consider using Crothix at up to 2% to thicken this mixture. It's also a nice anti-irritant and emollient ingredient, and can be substituted for the glycol distearate or cocamide DEA, especially if you wanted to make this product cold. 

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