Sunday, December 26, 2010

Iron Chemist: Sodium lactate

Welcome to Workshop Stadium. This week the Chairman, Raymond (my lovely husband), has chosen the first Iron Chemist ingredient - sodium lactate.

Here are the rules. Every week I will ask my husband to choose a number between 1 and 9. These represent boxes of supplies in my workshop. Once he has chosen a number, he will choose an item randomly from the box and I must make 2 - possibly 3 - products that include that ingredient. I will post the ingredient on Sunday and the products I've made out of said ingredient on Saturday along with the recipes. (If you wish to play along, you aren't limited to the same time frame and you don't need to make 2 or 3 products.) The only exception will be preservatives - I use them in everything anyway, and it won't end up being a very interesting product!

Unlike Iron Chef, you don't have to make the featured ingredient the main ingredient because we don't want to use our ingredients at unsafe levels.

As a note, I will change the order of the boxes every week, choosing another number 1 and counting from there because there's a chance he won't choose boxes number 1 or 9 because they're at the beginning and end. 


I do love sodium lactate! It's inexpensive, easy to use, and doesn't leave any sticky residue in your products. It's a metal-organic humectant (the Na - sodium - is the metal part), as opposed to a poly-alcohol, like glycerin. It is found in our skin's natural moisturizing factor, and it's a very effective humectant. How effective? Very effective.

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, which can help reduce "the look of fine lines and wrinkles".

It has a really high water holding capacity (meaning it's a very effective humectant), and it is about 1.5 times more effective in this department than glycerin.

So why not use it in everything? It can help treat acne and "signs of aging", and it's a very effective humectant. On the down side, it can make your skin sun sensitive, it can increase the rate of cell exfoliation (which is both good and bad), and it loses its efficacy when you've washed the area in question. So for something like a hand lotion, you're going to lose your humectant after the first hand washing! So great for body butters, foot lotions, moisturizers, toners, and other leave on products - not so great for products like body washes, hand lotions, or surfactant systems where you are going to be washing it away.

I use sodium lactate at 2.5% or lower in my products because at 3% it can make you sun sensitive, so I'd recommend it at 0.5% to 2.5%. If you're using it in a product where the sun doesn't matter - for instance, for a night time foot cream - you can go as high as 5%.

This one's going to be hard as I use it in just about everything already! 


Anonymous said...

Ha, how funny. I was searching like a madwoman a few days ago through my mountains of paper to find the formula on how to make Sodium lactate myself because I ran out and like to use it in just about everything as well.

Looking forward to further posts on it.

Greetings to you.

Anne-Marie said...

I love Sodium Lactate in soap (though never remember to use it!). Excited to see your recipes.

Mychelle said...

I can't wait to see what you come up with! I'll be playing along with you whenever I have the ingredients. Let the games begin! :)

Topcat said...

I love sodium lactate in soap and lotions and creams - it is my favourite thing to add! Looking forward to what you come up with :)

Katie Hamre said...

I purchased a goats milk lotion base and was wondering if it's okay to add sodium lactate to it. It says it's ok to add up to 2% additional oils. But as SL isn't an oil, I'm not sure. Thank you!

Matt said...

Hi Susan

When you say "I use sodium lactate at 2.5% or lower in my products because at 3% it can make you sun sensitive" Do you mean the total concentration of sodium lactate should not exceed 2.5%? I have the liquid version which is a 60/40 blend of sodium lactate/water so I could use up to 3.3% and still be sun safe correct?

Thank you

Matt said...

Math Correction on my question above: Could I use up to 4.15% and still be sun safe.

Thank you

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Matt. I'm answering your question in Sunday, January 4th's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is yes, you can use 4.15%. The longer answer? You'll have to tune in on Sunday!

Anonymous said...

I love using Sodium Lactate in CP soap. I am wondering what effect (if any) Sodium Lactate would have in soy candles. I think I feel an experiment coming on...

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Please use your name when you comment as we don't allow anonymous posts around here! It doesn't make for a good communiyt vibe.

I have no idea what it would do with a soy candle. I used it in a lip balm and it didn't harden it up, but that wasn't with soy. Please check back and share your results!

Anonymous said...

Can sodium lactate be used in hair products?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Liz. Sure, but it rinses off, so you'll get no benefit from it.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for responding. What about a hair creams and leave-in conditioners?


Pam said...

Hi Susan I use a lot of Sodium Lactate. I am also wondering if it could be used in a Leave in Conditioner.

Uvesh Patel said...

hy susan,

can we use sodium lactate in facepack or face mask???

if yes,,, how many percent??

Esra Kaskaloglu said...

Gina said she has the formula for making sodium lactate at home. Does anyone know and be willing to share the receipe/formula of making sodium lactate at home since it is a product gathered through fermentation of a sugar base like molasses or corn?
Many thanks in advance.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Uvesh! You could. I generally don't go over 2.5% in any products for body parts that might be exposed to the sun, as I mention in the post.

Hi Esra! I'm a big fan of DIY - obviously, look at the blog! - but I'm wondering why you'd make your own sodium lactate. It's one of the most inexpensive ingredients you could buy. Is it hard to get in your part of the world? Or is it just for the challenge of making it? (Just curious!)

Esra Kaskaloglu said...

Hi Susan,
Yes you are right it's really difficult over here. I have to order from the other part of the world. Pay the shipment at least double the amount of the product, wait for at least a week and then hope the customs just won't take it away! :)

Crazy Blonde said...

Susan, I bought sodium lactate in powder form. When you say to use 2% in your recipes, can I just weigh out the powder or are you talking about liquid sodium lactate? If so, how do I reconstitute the powder? Thanks so much, Raffaella

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Crazy Blonde! I've answered your question in yesterday's Weekday Wonderings. Great question, thanks!