Monday, April 30, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Moisturizers

How does a moisturizer differ from a lotion? A moisturizer is an emulsified product, like every other lotion, but they tend to have a higher water phase than other lotions. Generally moisturizers are 80% to 90% water, which means we have a 10% to 20% oil phase, which isn't huge when you consider that we need an emulsifier in the mix. So we'll end up with maybe 10% to 15% oils in this product, and a lot of water soluble ingredients.

Before we continue, I'm going to suggest that you take a look at these posts. I know it's a lot of work, but it will help you understand better why we're using the ingredients and methods we're using for this recipe.

What ingredients can we use in products for dry skin (part 1)
What ingredients can we use in products for dry skin (part 2)
Creating a basic lotion for dry skin 
Adapting the basic lotion recipe for dry skin (version 1)
Adapting the basic lotion recipe for dry skin (version 2)
Adapting the basic lotion recipe for dry skin (version 3)
Learning to create facial moisturizers (part 1) - huge list of moisturizers at the end of this post
Learning to create facial moisturizers (part 2)

The general idea is that we want to use an 80% water recipe for a moisturizer so we don't have something too thick or draggy on our skin. (If you have really dry skin and want a larger oil phase, may I suggest using a 70% water lotion recipe with a lower amount of butter and thickener.) Let's take a look at the basic recipe and then a few ideas of how we can tweak it!


BASIC FACIAL MOISTURIZER RECIPE
WATER PHASE
77.5% water
2.5% humectant of choice
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed protein

OIL PHASE
8% oils
4% emulsifier
2% thickener

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative
2% panthenol
0.5% extract
0.5% another extract

Consider your oils first. (Click here for ideas for oils for dry skin!) Since you're only using 8% to 10% (leaving out the thickener), you could use an exotic oil. Cranberry or borage might be a nice idea as both are good for help skin's barrier mechanisms repair quicker. Do you want to use a thickener? I like to use cetyl alcohol for moisturizers as you want to reduce the drag on your skin, but you could use cetearyl alcohol for a more waxy and occlusive product or cetyl esters for a slightly thicker and more glidy product. (Click here for a post on thickeners.) If you want a more powdery feeling product, use BTMS-50 as your emulsifier. Otherwise, use the emulsifier you prefer and make sure you're using the right amount. 4% is based on Polawax - you may need to adjust your recipe if you're using something else.

For the water, we could substitute a number of different things like hydrosols, water soluble extracts, and cosmeceuticals. We know we want to have an occlusive ingredient, so you could use 2% dimethicone, a bit of cocoa butter, or allantoin. Since I want my oil phase to be all exotic oil, cocoa butter and dimethicone are out, so I'll use 0.5% allantoin in the heated water phase. I want a film formers, so I'll use hydrolyzed protein.

And I need humectants. I have 2% panthenol in the cool down phase, but I could still include something in the heated water phase. Since we know humectants are essential for dry skin, I'm going to use 5% total. Consider a combination of humectants to keep the product from being sticky with too much glycerin or sun sensitizing with too much sodium lactate. Consider 2.5% sodium lactate with 2.5% glycerin, or 2.5% sodium lactate with 2.5% sodium PCA, and so on. I think I'm going to use 2.5% glycerin with 2.5% sodium lactate in this product.

I really like water soluble extracts, so I think I'll use 5% liquid green tea extract and 5% calendula extract in the heated water phase, and I think I'll use 10% aloe vera, 10% chamomile hydrosol, and 10% lavender hydrosol.

For the extracts, I think I'll go with 0.5% chamomile extract and 0.5% banana extract in the cool down phase, and 2% niacinamide (heated water phase).


BASIC FACIAL MOISTURIZER RECIPE FOR DRY SKIN
WATER PHASE
43% water
2.5% sodium lactate
2.5% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed protein
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% lavender hydrosol
5% liquid green tea extract
5% liquid calendula extract
2% niacinamide

OIL PHASE
8% cranberry oil
4% Polawax
2% cetyl alcohol

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative
2% panthenol
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% powdered banana extract


Use the general lotion making instructions for this product. As usual, if you don't like something in the recipe, substitute it for something you really love or leave it out and add back that much water. (Do not leave out the emulsifier or preservative. Substitute your emulsifier or preservative of choice.) If you have another liquid extract you love, substitute that for the green tea or liquid calendula. Use any oil you like - these are just suggestions.

If you are interesting in learning more about formulating your own products from scratch, click here for the start of the formulating lotions series and hit "newer post" when you get to the bottom of each page.

Join me tomorrow for more formulating for dry skin as we consider a few other things we could do with a facial moisturizer!


Related posts:
Using cosmeceuticals in our facial products
Using cosmeceuticals in facial products: Tweaking a dry skin moisturizer
Formulating facial moisturizers for dry skin

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Question: Does propylene glycol cause badness to our skin?

In this post, seventh77 asks: I've come across various "organic skin care" blog-type sites that claim propylene glycol "denatures" skin and causes it to age prematurely and sag. Is there any truth to that?

I answer the question in the comments in the post, but the short answer is no, there's no truth to these claims. And this is the point of this post...why not ask the people who make these claims where they get their information? I receive questions of this nature just about every day and I wonder why we don't think to write to the person making the statement. Don't get me wrong, I love to see your comments and e-mails, but I think we need to hold people accountable for what they put online. If someone says that silicone is natural because it's derived from sand, ask them for their definition of "natural". If someone says ingredient x is evil, ask them where they found this information. If someone declares that this or that ingredient will denature your skin, ask them for their sources. 

Again, please continue to write to me because I love debunking these kinds of claims, but consider writing to that blog or site author to find out where they gathered their information. It's not only interesting to see how people interpret studies and academic sources, but it helps us understand more about the ingredients we're using! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's been a painful week!

Thanks for your good thoughts about my math exam! I got an A-, something I didn't expect as I wrote it while enjoying some serious back and hip flexor pain, a memento of a serious fall I had on a ferry four years ago. I hope to get back to writing more detailed posts on Monday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No post today - math exam!

I'm doing my final exam for math tonight, so this morning is dedicated to doing last minute revisions to those concepts that have refused to take up residence in my head. I started the class in January, and I can't remember anything past last week. What's up with that? I'm stuck on logarithms and exponents - I know logarithms are exponents, but my math professor loves to throw in really obscure stuff (like finding the exact tan of 2 to the power of 1000 pi/2) - and I've only just learned vectors, and some of it's not sticking!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: More facial cleansers...

I love this creamy exfoliating cleanser! I can use it for my oily skin maybe once a month and my best friend with normal skin can use it once a week, but someone with dry skin could use it every day, although I'd make a version without the jojoba beads because you don't want to exfoliate too much!

Let's take a look at the version I recommend for dry skin, then modify it to include ingredients that might be easier to find or easier on the wallet!

CREAMY EXFOLIATING FACIAL CLEANSER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% SMC taurate or other really gentle surfactant
15% Amphosol CG
12% lavender or chamomile hydrosol
18% water
10% aloe vera
up to 5% glycerin
3% hydrolyzed proteins of choice
5% water soluble oil or other emollient

COOL DOWN PHASE
5% honeyquat or condition-eze 7
2% panthenol
0.5% preservative

AFTER COOL DOWN (OPTIONAL)
5% Crothix
2 to 4% 60/100 jojoba beads

Surfactants: When we made our body wash for dry skin, we identified a few different surfactants that might work well for dry skin, including...
  • sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) as it has a creamy feeling while you're washing and a lovely feeling afterwards. You can use the liquid ammonium cocoyl isethionate as well!;
  • sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (SMC taurate) or sodium methyl oleoyl taurate (SMO taurate), both of which are considered very gentle and moisturizing; 
  • polyglucose/lactylate blend, which is a combination of decyl glucoside and sodium lauroyl lactylate, both of which are considered gentle and ultra mild;  
  • sometimes disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, which is good for all hair and skin types as it is gentle; and
  • definitely cocamidopropyl betaine, which is our secondary amphoteric surfactant that increases viscosity and mildness in our products. 
You can choose other surfactants, but these seem to be the mildest and easiest to find at our suppliers' shops.

Jojoba esters: These are a pain to find, so I'm going to suggest that you could use other water soluble emollients, like water soluble olive oil (PEG-7 olivate), water soluble shea (I'm having a love affair with this stuff in my body wash!), glycol distearate (up to 2% in the heated water phase), Cromollient SCE, myristamine oxide, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, and so on. You could also create a water soluble oil by adding about one part oil to about one part polysorbate 80 and adding that to the product.

Click here for all the posts on emollients. Scroll down a bit for the esters!

Jojoba beads: You could use another exfoliant in this product. There are many many choices, and my suggestion is to use something small that could be suspended in the bottle. I wouldn't use anything huge like apricot or walnut shells, unless they are quite small. As you can see, if you don't use the product regularly, the jojoba beads and oil will float to the top of the bottle!

Note: When you change any of the ingredients I list for something else, you will see a difference in skin feel and viscosity. My product is quite watery until I add a lot of Crothix, whereas your product might be quite thick and you find you don't need it at all!

Related posts:
Formulating for dry skin: What is dry skin?
Formulating for dry skin: Creating facial cleansers
Formulating for dry skin: Creating body wash from scratch
Formulating for dry skin: Creating a facial cleanser for a foamer bottle
Formulating for your skin type: Creating creamy exfoliating facial cleanser with jojoba beads

Monday, April 23, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Toners continued...

As we saw in this post and this post, the pH of our skin care products is absolutely vital, and more so for facial products. When we're creating a cleanser, toner, or any other non-lotiony product, we have to make sure we are testing our pH and ensuring that it will be in the right range for our skin - about 6 and below, although the addition of things like AHAs, lactic acid, Multifruit BSC, and other acids will bring our pH lower, which we've learned is a good thing.

Click here for part one of the toners post...or for more information on why I'm choosing each ingredient. And click here for more information on how to change the pH of your products. I will go into more detail below, but it seems like people want direct links with direct information in asides rather than being incorporated into a paragraph. 

I don't tend to use a moisturizer as an oily person, and I tend to load my toner up with all kinds of crazy things - the dry skinned person might want to save the expensive stuff for your moisturizer. And you'll want to apply the toner, pat some of it off, then apply your moisturizer to keep all the watery goodness against your skin. If you're using a serum, toners are even more important because you'll want to have some water to trap under the anhydrous product!

Toners don't have to be astringent - they can be, but it's not essential. As someone with dry skin, you might like astringency or you might not. If you do, consider using something like witch hazel at up to 30% in your toner. If not, leave it out!

You can be quite minimalist with your toner - some hydrosols, a humectant, maybe an extract - or really extravagant, or somewhere in between. Let's take a look at how these three toners would differ.

MINIMALIST TONER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
76% water
10% aloe vera
10% hydrosol of choice
0.5% allantoin
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative
0.5% extract of some kind

This is a pretty basic toner with a humectant and allantoin (our occlusive ingredient). It is going to offer some hydration to your skin, but not a lot of long term moisturization.

IN BETWEEN TONER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
48.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% hydrosol of choice
10% another hydrosol of choice
0.5% allantoin
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA (or another humectant of choice)
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
3% Honeyquat
0.5% to 1% preservative

We've included some other hydrosols in this mix, added some extracts, and increased the humectants to include panthenol and Honeyquat (which will do double duty as a skin conditioner). You can use another cationic polymer here - like polyquat 7 - if you don't have Honeyquat. Or leave it out.

MAXED OUT TONER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
19% water
20% aloe vera
20% hydrosol of choice
20% another hydrosol of choice
0.5% allantoin
5% Cromollient SCE or water soluble shea or water soluble olive oil (PEG-7 olivate) or another water soluble emollient
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA
2% niacinamide

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% banana extract (or another extract of choice)
3% honeyquat
0.5% preservative of choice (use as directed)

As you can see, this toner is filled with all kinds of decadent goodies - two types of proteins, all kinds of humectants, and extracts galore! Feel free to add witch hazel or other liquids. Play around with the recipe and add a little more of this, a little less of that, and a whole lot of something else to see what your skin likes. You can add more humectants if you wish - add up to 3% glycerin and remove 3% from the water amount, add up to 3% tamarind seed extract and remove 3% from the water amount, and so on!

Toners are great ways to play with various ingredients because you can make them now and use them in about an hour. These toners will be pH balanced to about 6ish or so. If you want to reduce the pH, you can add 0.2% citric acid (0.2 grams is about 0.15 cc - one of those little MMU scoops) or add AHAs, Multifruit BSC, or other acids to take it down further.

And you can use a toner all over your body for those times you need extra hydration. As Soap Lady pointed out in her comment in this post, "As an aesthetician and soapmaker, I have always followed the golden rule of skin care which is "A cleanser is always followed by a toner" The toner removes excess cleanser and restores the skin's pH. Body toners have been used in spas for years and at home our lotions are the substitute for toners." So using a toner after you clean is a great way to remove excess surfactants and a fantastic way to give our skin a little more moisture before our facial lotions!

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating for dry skin!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chemistry of our skin: pH and our skin care products

As we saw yesterday, the pH of our skin is pretty important. Out of whack pH levels can lead to an increase in scaling, a decrease in hydration, and a possible increase in bacterial and yeast infections. In short, having an out of whack pH level can lead to dry skin and icky infections! (And I mean way out of whack! Here's a post on that topic, but the quick summary is that anyone who claims to have alkaline skin must be suffering from infections and incredibly dry skin!)

Does this mean we should care about the pH of the products we use? In this study, the researchers formulated three oil-in-water lotions with different pH levels, A had a pH of 3, B had a pH of 5, and C had a pH of 8. Here are the results....
Alkaline pH of the skin care products induced the disturbed barrier function. The TEWL (transepidermal water loss) of the SC (stratum corneum) was measured to investigate whether or not the skin barrier function was altered by applying the different pH skin care products. After 2 weeks, A (pH 3) reduced the TEWL of the SC significantly after application. After 5 weeks, C (pH 8) increased the TEWL of the SC significantly in comparison with other skin sites...So this implies that long-term application of alkaline skin care products can alter the SC barrier function more than acidic cosmetic products...Skin colour, water content and UV response was not altered by pH of the applied skin care products.

In our study, the alkaline skin care product impaired the skin barrier function after repeated application over 5-week periods. So, TEWL was increased significantly and the single 24-h exposure to 1% SLS impaired significantly the skin barrier in comparison with acidic cosmetic product. Our results demonstrated that the skin barrier was disrupted severely by SLS-induced irritation because SC was already impaired by alkaline pH and sensitive to external stress. So, this implied that pH of the skin care product we use daily is very important for the skin barrier, homeostasis and sensitivity. (From this paper)

This study concluded that using a leave on product with an alkaline pH was a really bad idea that could lead to an increase in transepidermal water loss, which we know can increase the feeling of dry skin! 

What does this mean for alkaline products, like cold process soap? 
Here, we have demonstrated the importance of the electrostatic interaction by showing that the pH of the skin surface has important consequences for the binding of resident bacteria on the skin, i.e. under acidic conditions the dispersal rates of endogenous bacteria are much lower than under alkaline conditions...The exact mechanism, which may explain these differences in dispersal rates of resident flora, is not known. It is suggested, that under alkaline conditions both the keratins, which constitute the corneocyte, and the bacterial surfaces are negatively charged resulting in repulsion. The role of the lipid-cornified envelope in adhesion of bacteria and the binding to sugar-containing receptors, would be less important under these conditions. Another factor, which may explain the enhanced dissociation of skin bacteria, is the high swelling of the skin under alkaline conditions due to the high netto negative charge of the keratins; this may open up the ‘sponge’-like corneocytes, allowing the bacteria to diffuse to the surface. This explains not only the higher numbers of bacteria detaching from the skin at alkaline conditions, but also the fact that repeated washings hardly show diminished numbers of bacteria; apparently, the resident skin bacteria are located even at relatively deep layers in the SC of the skin. 

It is well known that washing the hands with conventional alkaline soap will liberate large amounts of skin bacteria; this can easily be visualized by pressing the fingers on agar-plates after washing and subsequently count the colonies after breeding. Repeated washings (up to 10 times) fail to reduce these numbers of bacteria. This is why in hospitals the intensive washing of the hands before operations has been questioned. (This paper. Conclusion.)

If you want to get rid of bacteria, you really want something alkaline to detach them from the skin. (I really encourage you to read this paper as it goes into the beneficial and detrimental bacteria we find on our skin! It's so interesting!)

And take a look at this...
INTRODUCTION: Initially linked to antimicrobial function, the acidic skin pH plays a key role in permeability barrier homeostasis and integrity of the stratum corneum. Barrier recovery is delayed when acutely perturbed skin sites are exposed to a neutral pH. 
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the pH of commercially available rinse-off products in Sri Lanka, and the effect of detergent rinses on skin pH and its recovery rate. 
METHODS: The pH of 18 rinse-off products was determined using pH indicator paper and a pH meter. The effect of an alkaline (pH 9) and an acid (pH 5.5) rinse-off product on the hand skin pH was compared in 48 healthy volunteers after single and multiple applications. The skin pH of the dorsum of hands was measured in nurses before (n = 131) and during (n = 40) a duty shift that involved frequent hand washing using alkaline soap. 
RESULTS: Soaps available in Sri Lanka have a pH of 9.1-10.5. The pH of syndets and cleansers range from 5.5-7.0. Five minutes after hand washing, the mean skin pH increased by 1.7 +/- SD 0.5 pH units with alkaline soap, and by 0.8 +/- SD 0.4 pH units with acidic cleanser (p < 0.0001). Recovery of pH was slower when alkaline soap was used. The increase in skin pH was significantly greater when hands were repetitively washed with alkaline soap (p < 0.0001). The mean skin pH values of nurses before (4.9 +/- SD 0.4) and during (5.7 +/- SD 0.7) the work shift were significantly different (p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Alkalinisation with rinse-off products increases the skin pH with potential functional and clinical implications.
Citation: Gunathilake, H., Sirimanna, G., & Schurer, N. (2007). The pH of commercially available rinse-off products in Sri Lanka and their effect on skin pH. Ceylon Medical Journal, 52(4), 125-129.

...recent studies show that high-pH solutions, even in the absence of surfactants, can increase stratum corneum swelling and alter lipid rigidity, which suggests that cleansers with a neutral or acidic pH close to the normal pH of 5.5 are potentially less damaging to the skin. (This paper.)

I keep encountering study after study that shows that using an alkaline product for any length of time can result in a higher pH or dry skin. In this post on humectants, we saw that we don't want the lipids in our stratum corneum to be rigid as it can lead to dry skin. "The solid system produced with an all-saturated fatty acid mixture causes an extreme water loss due to breaks in the solid crystal phase." So again, using products that aren't in the pH range our skin wants can lead to dry skin.

Using something incredibly alkaline - like hair relaxers with a pH of 11 to 13.6 - can result in a change so dramatic that irritation and inflammation can occur, and you can end up with wounds. (Innate Immune System of Skin & Oral Mucosa). But this is an extreme example!

So what does this mean for alkaline products, like CP soap? It'll get rid of bacteria really well, which is awesome. And those of you who make CP soap know all about superfatting, which ensures that there is more moisturizing power in your soap than a soap without the superfatting.

I need to make this point clearly - I'm not saying anything against CP soap from a personal experience. I love CP soap, and I buy good stuff made by great soap makers because I find it quite lovely for my skin. I know that the studies I've posted are advising against alkaline products, and CP soap is an alkaline product, and this is making people upset. I'm just posting what I've found. You might have personal experiences in which CP soap has helped your friends or family with skin problems, and I don't want to negate those experiences, so I'm having trouble reconciling the studies I'm seeing - and there are more than I've posted here - with our experiences with CP soap. I like hearing your experiences, but anecdotes don't make science. Posting that your friend loves your soap or that your mom benefitted from something you made or that your dad is doing well with your soap is your experience, but it doesn't constitute scientific fact. I'm not sure what else to say here. I didn't expect to come upon these findings and I don't know how to interpret them because I know it's upsetting people. I'm not sure how to end this paragraph, so I'll just end it with a few periods...


And what does this mean for people with dry skin? Acidic products are your friend, and making your products more acidic is a good thing. I realize this might seem counter intuitive, but adding something like an AHA can actually help your skin trap water better!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at more dry skin facial products! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome Finland!

I noticed one of the blogs that has linked to my blog is Fashioned in Finland! I don't know much about Finland except these things...

Monty Python has a great song about your country
- I'm really enjoying Nightwish (although I prefer the first singer over the new one)
- you produce great hockey players,
- your language isn't like any of those in the other Scandinavian countries, and
- you have an epic poem that involves the sampo (which I know about from a song by Nightwish and the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 movie "The Day the Earth Froze").

Welcome to the blog! I'm so happy to have you here!

BTW: The picture above is from a comic called Scandinavia and the world. Finland is shown as the angry guy at the end with the knife. I'm still not sure why Finland is pictured this way, but your country is the awesomest! (And yes, that's now officially a word.) This is my favourite comic so far...perhaps because I can relate to it. Thanks to Sam Dunn and his fantastic documentary series, Metal Evolution, I learned about two genres of metal that had previously eluded me - power metal and symphonic metal. (I used to listen to Hellowe'en as a teenager, so I guess I knew a band from this genre, but I didn't know it had a name.) Blind Guardian is amazing - I realize they're German, not Finnish - and I'm getting into Hammerfall (from Sweden), which leads to me to the conclusion that Scandinavians seriously rock (Although I really can't get into the black metal stuff. I need great vocals, and the monster shouting doesn't do it for me. I guess I'm more a progressive/power metal kind of girl.)

Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin

I've found such an assortment of really interesting papers on the pH of our skin, I had to share them with you! The writing in purple is the text from the study with my comments before and after.

What is the proper pH of our skin? As I've written in the past, the general range is considered around pH 5.4 to 5.9, but this is based on the surface of the lower arm of the Caucasian male. There are variations depending upon skin type, skin colour, gender, and so on.

This paper notes: A statistically significant difference in skin pH between men (mean pH= 5.80) and women (mean pH=5.54) was found, with women being more acidic than men (P<0.01)...Spontaneous skin surface pH was found to be significantly lower in women, as compared to men - albeit, the difference was small and of unknown relevance.

So women tend to be slightly more acidic than men, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal. Okay, great. Let's take a look at another study about the average pH of our skin!

Variable skin pH values are being reported in literature, all in the acidic range but with a broad range from pH 4.0 to 7.0. In a multicentre study, we have assessed the skin surface pH of the volar forearm before and after refraining from showering and cosmetic product application for 24h. The average pH dropped from 5.12 ± 0.56 to 4.93 ± 0.45. On the basis of this pH drop, it is estimated that the ‘natural’ skin surface pH is on average 4.7, i.e. below 5. This is in line with existing literature, where a relatively large number of reports (c. 50%) actually describes pH values below 5.0; this is in contrast to the general assumption, that skin surface pH is on average between 5.0 and 6.0. Not only prior use of cosmetic products, especially soaps, have profound influence on skin surface pH, but the use of plain tap water, in Europe with a pH value generally around 8.0, will increase skin pH up to 6 h after application before returning to its ‘natural’ value of on average below 5.0. It is demonstrated that skin with pH values below 5.0 is in a better condition than skin with pH values above 5.0, as shown by measuring the biophysical parameters of barrier function, moisturization and scaling. The effect of pH on adhesion of resident skin microflora was also assessed; an acid skin pH (4–4.5) keeps the resident bacterial flora attached to the skin, whereas an alkaline pH (8–9) promotes the dispersal from the skin.
(From this paper.)

The people studied were from The Netherlands: 167, Germany: 87, The Philippines: 40, Spain: 36. In my humble opinion, this isn't really enough of a cross section of the different skin types around the world to make a definitive statement. If you read further into the paper, you'll see they address this issue.

Their conclusion is that our skin is about pH 4.7, which is more acidic than we thought! The concept of skin having a pH of 5.4 to 5.9 seems to come from skin that has been exposed to skin care products.

So why do we care about the pH of our skin? 
The surface of the skin is covered with a protective acidic hydrolipid film with pH 4.5-5.5. This is the emulsion of substances dissolved in water, composed of sebaceous and sweat gland secretion and products of decomposed corneocytes, whose bactericidal and fungicidal properties are based on mild acidity. Additionally, this emulsion prevents evaporation of water from the surface of the skin, which contributes to the maintenance of stratum corneum hydration...pH values of the skin surface significantly influence microflora and, by protecting from penetration of microorganisms into the body, also influence the skin barrier function. Increased pH values reduce the antibacterial and antimycotic properties of the skin surface, which enables more frequent occurrence of infections. (From this paper.)

In other words, if the pH of our skin gets higher than normal, the ability of our skin to protect us from bacteria and yeast will be reduced and we'll get more of those kinds of infections.

[S]ubjects with skin pH < 5.0 show statistically significant less scaling and higher hydration levels than subjects with skin pH > 5.0 (this paper).

In other words, people with less acidic skin tend towards what we would call dry skin with more scaling (skin flakes) and lower hydration levels.

It is interesting to mention in this respect that competent lipid barrier formation in neonatal skin and barrier repair of damaged skin are delayed at neutral pH conditions. Furthermore, regeneration of barrier function after damage with acetone or extensive tape stripping proceeds significantly faster when the skin is exposed to acidic pH (5.5) than neutral pH (c. 7.2), indicating that barrier formation and restoration (both in mice and in humans) is a process stimulated by low pH as well as a steep pH gradient. (From this paper)

In other words, acidic pH levels our skin good, neutral possibly not great, alkaline bad.

So why do we care about any of this? Well, that seems like a silly question considering we're making our products to help with things like dry skin, that feeling of tightness after washing one's hands, and other things of that nature. We can alter the pH of our skin by using various products...which sounds like an interesting post for tomorrow!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baking Owl comes out of retirement!

When I was a Brownie leader, the girls thought I should be called Baking Owl because I'd be compelled to bake for them! I was eventually called Fluffy Owl - thanks to my poofy hair - but I still baked them things occasionally. Baking Owl is back, and boy, did I create a mess! Eight cake mixes later, we have cake for everyone for cake decorating in craft group!

Look for pictures from tonight's group, as well as a few posts on the pH of our skin tomorrow! Then we're back to making more products for dry skin.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No post Wednesday!

Sorry for the break in the series on formulating for dry skin, but I had two youth groups last night (making draw string back packs and working on the chemistry badge for Girl Guides) and one tomorrow night (cake & cupcake decorating) and I'm really pressed for time! As well, I have my math exam next week and it's amazing how much I've forgotten in a few short months!

Here's a picture of Aquarius Aroma & Soap in Mission, B.C. I visited Monica last week to get some pipettes, some ACI, and some butter cream frosting fragrance oil. I'm loving the ACI - more about that in the next week - and the butter cream frosting smells amazing! Isn't it lovely? And it's in a great location, in the more rural area of Mission. It's her retail location, warehouse, and classroom space! Isn't it gorgeous? (It was an overcast day, hence the not so brightness of the picture!)

Are you interested in seeing what the suppliers' shops look like? If so, I can make a point of taking pictures when I visit my local suppliers like Voyageur Soap & Candle, Otion, Suds & Scents, and Aquarius! If they'll let me, that is! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Toners

A toner is a product intended to remove any cleanser and oils from your face prior to application of a moisturizer. For those of us with oily skin, it can do double duty as a moisturizer. For those of you with dry skin, it might not even be a step in your facial cleansing process, but I think you can use a version of the oily skin toner as a way of trapping in awesome ingredients and moisture before applying your moisturizer! The key for dry skin is to get water against your skin - if you use a toner prior to applying a moisturizer, you can trap water, aloe vera, and all kinds of wonderful water soluble ingredients next to you skin all day long! Toners are especially good if you're using a serum - you have no water in a serum, so what are you trapping against your skin? But add a spritz or two of toner, and you have yourself a water soluble friend that will hydrate all day long!

If you're just using it to remove the surfactants from your skin, just make yourself something nice out of a few hydrosols and a preservative. This post is about how to use toners as pre-moisturizers or under moisturizers filled with all kinds of decadent ingredients! 

What kinds of things might we want in a toner for dry skin? If we go back to the post on choosing ingredients for dry skin (part 1), we see what we want to include occlusives, emollients, and humectants. The only occlusive ingredient we can use in a toner would be allantoin at up to 0.5% in the heated water phase because cocoa butter and dimethicone are both oil soluble, something a toner is not! For our emollients, we can use things like water soluble esters - like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble shea oil - or we can use the solubilizers and emulsifiers themselves as emollients - like Caprol Micro Express, Cromollient SCE, and others. (The polysorbates are too sticky to be used as emollients!) We can also use our hydrolyzed proteins as film formers - like hydrolyzed oat protein - or as moisturizing ingredients - like hydrolyzed silk protein. For our humectants...well, we have tons and tons of choices here!

Sodium lactate and sodium PCA are good choices, although sodium lactate can make you sun sensitive over 3%. Honeyquat would do double duty, although it can feel a little sticky, as can glycerin, sorbitol, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and sorbitol. Hydrovance is a good choice, but it can experience pH drift, so it's a better choice in products to which you've added AHA or other acids. Tamarind seed extract is nice in a toner, as is dipropylene glycol. And don't forget the panthenol - I always include it in my toners!

We can include some lovely botanical ingredients in a toner recipe (refer to the post on ingredients for dry skin, part two). Add some hydrosols - chamomile and lavender would be my first choice - some aloe vera, some extracts - banana, chamomile, maybe some green tea for aging skin - and cosmeceuticals. There really is no limit on what you can add to a toner, except your ingredients must be water soluble and you don't want to add them over and above the suggested usage amounts because you need them to remain dissolved in the water. (For more on solubility, click here.) And make sure you aren't including a ton of extracts that might be exfoliating together! For instance, papaya, white willow bark, and pineapple all contain exfoliating elements, and you will end up very reddened and sensitive skin if you use all three at full strength!

People with dry skin can try witch hazel - the kind without added alcohol, ask your supplier - because it is a great anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and soothing ingredient. It's also an astringent, and some people with very dry skin will find this is distinctly unhelpful for helping dry skin! But some might find it awesome!

All right! I'll leave you to research your ingredients and we'll reconvene here tomorrow to create a base recipe for a toner suitable for dry skin!

As a final thought, toners are interesting because they're pretty much the same recipe for every skin type. It's the tweaking of the ingredients that makes them very different. And I find it's easy to use things in toners to see if my skin likes them, rather than making a moisturizer. Toners are pretty quick to make and they can be used the same day you make them, whereas moisturizers generally have to wait until the next day so they can cool down! 

Related posts:
Fun with formulating: Make a toner

Monday, April 16, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Creating a facial cleanser for a foamer bottle

This recipe is based off this one, sort of, so read it first, if you wish! And I really encourage you to read this post first - facial cleansers for dry skin - because I really do go into most of the detail necessary for you to create a facial cleanser in this post! Then read this one - ingredients for skin cleansers. Okay, I think we're ready!

We can take yesterday's body wash recipe and add a bit more water to make this awesome for dry skin, and we've got a facial cleanser. I'm not joking. If you take a look at that recipe, there are tons of things in there that would be great for dry facial skin. We have ingredients that will moisturize, other than that will hydrate, and others than cleanse.

If we make up a batch of this product at original strength, then add 100% water to it - add this to the water phase - we can make a wonderful foamer bottle product! Either of the recipes will work for this purpose - just increase the amount of water or by 100% while you're making it, and don't thicken the product in any way. Or reduce your surfactants to 5% each (total of 15% for one recipe and 20% for the other) and make it that way if you want to get more concentrated levels of the other ingredients! Heck, most products will work to make a foamy bottle product this way - just make sure there's at least a 30% product to 70% water ratio, and increase your preservative accordingly. If you're adding 100% more water to the product, you'd want to add 1% more liquid Germall Plus or 2% Germaben II, for instance. We have to make sure we have enough preservative in the mix! Oh, and leave out the fragrance. It's great for a body wash, but not so fabulous for a facial wash!

Why put something in a foamer bottle? A few reasons...

  • Foam is fun! Try washing your hands with regular soap then use a foamer bottle. Which is more fun? The foamer bottle! It always makes me feel like a little kid! 
  • The product will be less concentrated, and when it comes to using product on our faces, the last thing we need is a really concentrated product! We want something really mild, and if we water at 30% product down, we can get all the goodies like hydrolyzed proteins or panthenol without all the surfacants!
  • The product will be easier to rinse off. That feeling of tightness on our skin is a result of hard-to-rinse off surfactants, so diluted surfactants will rinse off easier from our face than non-diluted surfactants. 
  • We don't have to worry about thickening the product because it's in a foamer bottle and we don't want it thickened! 

Here's a recipe I made that is more concentrated, but still usable in an pump bottle! I'd suggest increasing the glycerin to 5% for dry skin!


FOAMING FACIAL WASH WITH SCI
HEATED PHASE
30.5% water
10% SCI (Jordapon prilled, no stearic acid) or ACI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% polyglucose/lactylate blend
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% polyquat 7 (or honeyquat, which goes into the cool down phase, not the heated phase!)
2% cromoist (or other hydrolyzed protein)

COOL DOWN PHASE
5% liquid green tea extract (note below)
2% panthenol
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
0.5% powdered extract
3% Multifruit BSC

Note about liquid green tea extract: If you have powdered extract, use it at 0.5% and add 4.5% to the water phase. I'm using the liquid stuff because I bought it and I wanted to play with it! If you don't want to include either, remove it and add an appropriate amount of water back to the heated water phase!

1. Weigh the SCI and cocamipropyl betaine into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is melted.

2. Weigh the rest of the heated phase into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is the same temperature as the SCI and cocamipropyl betaine.

3. Combine the two containers and mix very well until it is a homogenous solution. Don't stir too vigorously or you might end up with tons of bubbles that take some time to get to the top of the bottle!

4. When the mixture reaches 45˚C, add the cool down phase. Again, don't mix it too vigorously!

5. Let this sit until it comes to room temperature before bottling.

So how the heck did I manage to get SCI into a foamer bottle when we know it thickens our mixtures? SCI mostly thickens because of the stearic acid. By using a version that doesn't contain it, I didn't include the thickening feature. If you want to put this in a pump or squeeze type bottle instead of a foamer either use the SCI with stearic acid (the noodles and sometimes the flakes) or add up to 2% Crothix or other thickener at the appropriate level.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at facial toners for dry skin!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: What other things could we include in our body wash?

We've created our basic body wash recipe and we're happy with it...but we could tweak it further! (We can ALWAYS do more tweaking, but it takes real skill to know when to stop!) So what kinds of things we could do to this recipe to make it more moisturizing and what ingredients will increase the mildness or help hydrate dry skin?

BASIC BODY WASH FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
10% polyglucose/lactylate blend
10% SCI or ACI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% cationic polymer
2% hydrolyzed protein
10% water soluble ester or 5% solubilizer and 5% oil of choice
34.5% water

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% fragrance/essential oil
0.5% preservative (I prefer liquid Germall Plus)

up to 5% liquid Crothix at the end
or up to 2% glycol distearate in the heated water phase

EXTRACTS: I love chamomile for red and damaged skin, so you could add 10% chamomile hydrosol (heck, add 20%!) in the heated water phase or 0.5% powdered chamomile extract in the cool down phase. You could add 0.5% powdered banana extract - it sounds interesting - in the cool down phase as well. You can use a variety of hydrosols in the heated water phase - lavender would be nice, as would be peppermint (if you make sure you keep it away from mucous membranes that might tingle!)  


CATIONIC POLYMERS: I'd go with polyquat 7 because it's the easiest for me to get and the least expensive. You could use polyquat 44, but you'd only want to use it at 0.5% to 1% maximum. Honeyquat is a great choice here - use at up to 5% in the cool down phase. 

If we want to create this recipe as is with a few substitutions, here's an idea. 

BASIC BODY WASH FOR DRY SKIN, VERSION 1
HEATED WATER PHASE
10% polyglucose/lactylate blend
10% SCI or ACI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% polyquat 7
2% silk protein
10% PEG-7 olivate
2% glycol distearate
34.5% water

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% fragrance/essential oil
0.5% preservative (I prefer liquid Germall Plus)

up to 5% liquid Crothix or another thickener (optional) 

Please consult this post for suggestions on how to make this product. 

I'm going to get a little reckless here and try making a thicker product that will look quite pearlized (like this example here!) I'm loading it up with a ton of extracts, hydrosols, and powders just for fun. This is an extremely moisturizing product with a very moisturized after feel. If you have oily skin, this is probably a little much for you, whereas normal skin could go either. 

BASIC BODY WASH, VERSION 2 - MUCH THICKER AND PEARLIZED
HEATED WATER PHASE
10% polyglucose/lactylate blend
20% SCI or ACI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% lavender hydrosol
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% hydrolyzed silk protein or silk amino acids
10% water soluble shea
2% niacinamide
1.5% water (don't include in the heated water phase...see note below)

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% fragrance/essential oil
0.5% preservative (I prefer liquid Germall Plus)
3% honeyquat
0.5% banana extract
0.5% chamomile extract

Heat up the 1.5% water so you can dissolve the banana and chamomile extract in it. Don't include it in the heated water phase. As for thickening, if you use a fragrance that doesn't thin out your products - for instance, nothing with vanilla in it - you should have a product that is quite thick. If you don't have a product thick enough for your preferences, then add up to 5% liquid Crothix or another thickener to the product at the suggested usage rates.

Don't forget that you can modify this recipe to become a facial cleanser packed full of lovely extracts and other things. Do we have plans for tomorrow? Let me check my iCal. Nothing planned...hmm. Let's make a foamy facial cleanser suitable for dry skin for tomorrow!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A few thoughts for the day: Cleansing conditioners & pH of our bodies

I've been seeing these Wen Cleansing Conditioner ads on the TV quite regularly, and it seems like you've been seeing them, too. So here are a few posts I've written on this topic...

Duplicating products: Cleansing conditioners
How does the no-shampoo concept work? (This is where I analyze the Wen Cleansing Conditioner. My conclusion: They are no more cleansing than any conditioner you might find in the drug store, but they certainly cost a lot more!)

As for the pH of our body parts, I really need to make this point in bold - you cannot be so out of whack that your skin is alkaline when it is supposed to be acidic. Something like this is very dangerous and can lead to serious skin problems! I can't say this strongly enough. If you have a friend who says things like "My skin is alkaline", she probably has a very serious medical condition or she is wrong.

From this paper on PubMed: Today, the term "normal skin pH" is understood to be the pH value of the surface of the skin of the lower arm of a healthy adult male Caucasian. Its mean value lies in the range 5.4-5.9. In most cases, it is determined by means of a flat glass electrode. The parameter "skin pH" depends mainly on the area of skin and on age, but it also depends to a lesser extent on sex, race and the time of day when values are determined.

As a note, your hair can be anywhere between pH 3.5 and 6.5-ish. For your blood, acidosis is said to occur when arterial pH falls below 7.35, while its counterpart (alkalosis) occurs at a pH over 7.45. Here we see what is a tiny change - only 0.10 pH units - and it can lead to serious health badness!

An aside...Going from something like 5.9 to 8 is a massive change. The pH scale is like the earthquake measuring scale. "An earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger and corresponds to an energy release of √1000 ≈ 31.6 times greater than one that measures 4.0." (Wikipedia) It's a logarithmic scale, which means that going from 1.0 to 2.0 isn't just an additional 1, it's about the power to 10 to something. 10 to the power of 1 is 10 whereas 10 to the power of 2 is 100. That's a huge difference. 10 to the power of 3 is a thousand - that's massive. So to say your skin should be 5.4 to 5.9 but you think it's over 8 means that you're going from 10 to the power of 5 (100,000) to 10 to the power of 8 (100,000,000). As a note, my multiples of 10 don't have a meaning when it comes to pH - I'm using it as an example of how large a change we see when we use the pH scale.

I'm really not sure how people come to the conclusion that they have alkaline hair or skin, but I hear about it often enough that there must be someone out there somewhere offering testing or information on how to test yourself somehow. You cannot have alkaline skin or hair. It isn't possible. If you have alkaline skin or hair, can you please share where you obtained this information? I'm really curious!

I think I'm going to write a longer post on this topic...I've found such interesting papers on the topic! Look for more to come shortly. 

Related posts:

Formulating for dry skin: Creating a basic recipe for a body wash

Yesterday we took a look at various ingredients we might like to include in a body wash, so let's take that information and create a basic recipe for a body wash so we can play with all those wonderful ingredients that will moisturize and hydrate dry skin!

BASIC BODY WASH FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
10% polyglucose/lactylate blend
10% SCI or ACI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% cationic polymer
2% hydrolyzed protein
10% water soluble ester or 5% solubilizer and 5% oil of choice
34.5% water

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% fragrance/essential oil
0.5% preservative (I prefer liquid Germall Plus)

up to 5% liquid Crothix at the end
or up to 2% glycol distearate in the heated water phase

If you are using liquid ACI or all liquid surfactants, add the entire water phase together and heat in a double boiler until the temperature reaches 70˚C. Heat and hold at that temperature for 20 minutes. Compensate for the lost water by weighing the container at the end of the heat and hold and adding enough water to make it the weight it should be. Add the cool down phase when it reaches 45˚C.

If you are using prilled, flaked, or noodled SCI, I suggest mixing the cocamidopropyl betaine and SCI in a container and heating it in the double boiler until it melts. (Click here for some idea on this process.) At the same time, combine the rest of the water phase ingredients in another container and heat until it reaches 70˚C, then heat and hold. When it looks like the SCI is well melted - if you mix it, it's a nice consistency and looks uniform - then add it to the heated water phase ONLY if the heated water phase is at 70˚C or higher. Mix really well, continue the holding, and remove after 20 minutes. Then add the cool down phase when it reaches 45˚C.

If you are using up to 2% glycol distearate to thicken this product, remove 2% from the water phase, and melt this in the heated SCI and cocamidopropyl phase. If you aren't using solid SCI, then melt it on its own in a container until it melts, then add it to the heated water phase. (If you add it to the heated water phase unmelted, it will take forever to melt!!!) You will likely need another thickener with this product.

If you are using liquid Crothix to thicken this product, fragrance and colour it, and let it sit overnight to come to room temperature. Add up to 0.5% Crothix at a time and mix before adding another 0.5%. Do this up to 5%.

If you are using something else to thicken it - xanthan gum, carbomer, and so on - follow the normal instructions for that thickener.

When you're using cationic polymers, check your usage rate and suggested phase. If you're using polyquat 7, you can use up to 5% in the heated water phase. If you're using honeyquat at up to 5%, please use it in the cool down phase as it can smell just awful - very plasticky - when used in the heated phase. If you're using polyquat 44, use a maximum of 1% in the heated water phase. And so on.

And if you want to use other surfactants, have at it...but please make sure that you are using an amphoteric like cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate to increase the mildness and please make sure you test the final pH if the surfactants aren't in the acidic range to start. (I'm referring to the glucosides, mainly, but check with your supplier if you're not sure!)

Join me tomorrow as we have some great fun modifying this recipe with various extracts, esters, and emollients!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Creating a body wash from scratch

For the purposes of this series on creating skin cleansers, I'm going to be using the same three surfactants - SCI or ACI, cocamidopropyl betaine, and polyglucose/lactylate blend in each product. You can choose any combination you want and just substitute one surfactant for the SCI and another surfactant for the polyglucose/lactylate blend. I really encourage you to use the cocamidopropyl betaine because we really want an amphoteric surfactant in the mix to increase our viscosity and mildness. I also know that I have created many body washes in the past - click here to see a variety of recipes - but I really want to go through the process from scratch so you can follow along and learn to make your own version!

When I create a body wash, I generally have between 30% and 45% surfactants, which I divide between two or three surfactants. In a body wash, I want to include surfactants that will clean my skin gently and won't leave me feeling tight or dry, something that has foam and lather in it, and something that smells nice. The smelling nice part comes from the fragrance or essential oils I choose, so the surfactants have to be gentle to mild cleansers with some foaming and lathering that will rinse off well. I like to use SCI or ACI and the polyglucose/lactylate blend because they fulfill all these needs.

SCI is a great foamer, bubbler, and latherer that leaves behind what is called an elegant skin feel. The polyglucose/lactylate blend rinses off cleanly and leaves behind a very moisturized feeling. Both are considered gentle to mild cleansers, and when we add the cocamidopropyl betaine to the mix, we increase the mildness dramatically to give us a cleanser suitable for even the driest skin!

For a dry skin body wash, we can consider using 30% surfactants, then loading it up with a variety of humectants and moisturizers. Because we'll be using a ton of emollients in here that can suppress the foam, we want to make sure we have surfactants that will overcome those barriers to give us something really fluffy and foamy! (You know you want a lathery body wash full of fluffy bubbles. You might not think you do, but try something that doesn't bubble well and you'll realize how important that aesthetic is to you!)

So let's divide that 30% surfactants evenly between our three surfactants. This leaves us 70% for other ingredients. What are the other goals we have for this product? We have taken care of the mild cleansing part with the surfactants, so now we need to include our moisturizers, emollients, humectants, and more!

I'm going to suggest using at least 10% aloe vera in your product for two reasons. The first is that it is a great moisturizer in our products. The second is that the electrolytes we find in aloe vera will help thicken our product. With 30% surfactants, we're going to need a lot of help in thickening this product to the point where it will come out of our container well, so every electrolyte helps! If you can't use aloe vera or don't want to use it, leave it out.

I'm going to suggest using one of the humectants that will remain on your skin after rinsing, which means sodium lactate and sodium PCA are right out. Glycerin is always a great choice because it not only behaves as a humectant and stays on your skin, but it increases the bubbles in the product and increases the viscosity. Plus, it's inexpensive. When it comes to body wash, glycerin is always my first choice for a humectant. I'm going to suggest that you use it at 5% in your heated water phase of the product. I also like to include panthenol in my body wash in the cool down phase at up to 5%. It's not the cheapest ingredient, so I tend to use it at 2% to save on costs!

I'm also going to suggest that you use a cationic polymer. I like to use polyquat 7 at up to 5% in my products, but you could use honeyquat at up to 5% to behave as both a humectant and a cationic polymer.

As an aside, out of all the polyquats, polyquat 7 is the cheapest. You could use polyquat 44 - it's about the same price because you wouldn't use more than 1% - but it's not as local to me as polyquat 7.

I like a protein in my products, so I'm going to suggest using one of the hydrolyzed proteins at up to 2% in the heated water phase. You can use any you wish - I tend to like silk protein in my body wash, and I admit that it might be all in my head, but I swear I feel a silkiness that I don't find when I use oat protein or Phytokeratin.

And you really want to use an emollient. Yes, this will reduce the amount of foam and lather you have in your product, but as someone with dry skin, you really need to re-fatten your skin once you've removed what few oils you have in your stratum corneum! You can do this a few ways. I like to use a water soluble ester at up to 10% - water soluble shea or olive oil is very nice - and I like to include myristamine oxide at 5% in the heated water phase. You could use a regular oil and solubilize it with equal parts something like polysorbate 80 or Cromollient SCE or Caprol Micro Express, but this will definitely make your product opaque and less bubbly (but if you're getting major moisturizing with it, who cares?).

As a note, if you're using Cromoillient SCE, Caprol Micro Express, or one of the non-polysorbate water soluble esters that can help you use oil in your products, I really encourage you to try it without the oils and just rely on this ester to offer moisturizing. It works really well and you will get a clearer product without running the risk of having the oils pool on top. 


If you're using polysorbate 80, you'll want to mix the oil of choice with an equal amount of polysorbate 80 in a small container, then add it to the product at the same time you add your fragrance or essential oils. More about this shortly...

One of the final thoughts should be about how we're going to thicken this recipe. This product will be too thin to use as a body wash - you'll squish your bottle and it'll come out like water - so we have to thicken it. There are many different ways to do this - various gums, gels, and esters - but if we use something like Crothix, we get three great things in one. Crothix will thicken our products and perform as an emollient and increase the mildness of our products. If we use something like glycol distearate, it will do the same thing, but it is a little harder to use as we have to add it to the heated phase and make sure it melts well. There are other thickeners out there, and you'll have to find one in a supplier near you that thickens your product well.

If you can't get a thickener you like, I suggest putting any cleansing product into a foamer bottle. Yep, it's a bit of a cheat, but it's better than standing there for three days trying your Crothix at 0.5% at a time and getting annoyed when you're up to 10% and it's still like water! Remember that the fragrance you choose can make a huge difference when you're making surfactant based products, so if you choose a fragrance heavy with vanilla - for instance, Pink Sugar - you're going to end up with a far more watery product than if you choose something with citrus or lavender! (Click here for more on this topic!)

Are there any other things we could add to a body wash? We could add some extracts - chamomile hydrosol (10% in the heated water phase) or powdered chamomile extract would be nice for irritated skin (0.5%, cool down phase), lavender hydrosol for the same reason, 0.5% powdered banana extract might add some nice vitamins, niacinamide might reduce transepidermal water loss at 2% in the cool down phase, and 5% water soluble calendula extract might be pretty nice in the water phase. There are lots of extracts and botanical ingredients we could add to this body wash - once you've found a version you like, start playing and adding those things you like. (For instance, I really like 0.5% white willow bark in my version for oily and acne prone skin!)

All right! I think we've got some great ideas here, so let's take a break and reconvene tomorrow to create a body wash that someone with dry skin will love! (Or, for fun, try putting together a recipe from the suggested usage rates I mention in this post!)

Related posts:
Surfactants, fragrance, and viscosity
What ingredients could we include for dry skin? (Part one)
What ingredients could we include for dry skin? (Part two)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An aside...Working with SCI noodles, prills, or other solid forms

If you're planning to work with SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate), remember that you need to melt it for quite some time before it is usable in your product. The best way to do this is to melt it with cocamidopropyl betaine, but you could use some anionic surfactants like the alkyl sulfosuccinates, alkyl ether sulfosuccinates, sodium or ammonium taurates, acyl glutamates, or acyl sarcosinates. You can add the amphoteric surfactants like the betaines or hydroxysultaines. Or you can add some non-ionic surfactants like polysorbate 20 or 80, alkyl glucosides (like decyl glucoside), PEG glyceryl cocoates or PEG glyceryl laurates. (Click here if you want to read about all these various surfactants! I'm just too tired to link every single category here)

Here's how I do it. I put the SCI in a Pyrex jug with my cocamidopropyl betaine and set it in to melt. I put all of the other ingredients I might add to the SCI later - my surfactants, water, aloe vera, and so on - into another container and heat it at the same time. Mix the containers regularly. When my SCI has melted, I'll add the heated other ingredients to it and stir well. I find that I still need to heat it further because the adding of the two things tends to make some of the SCI solidify. This might take some time, but better this than having that layer of SCI at the bottom of the product or having big chunks of it floating in the product!

Formulating for dry skin: Creating skin cleansers - an overview of ingredients

I know you're probably itching for me to get to facial moisturizers, but I thought I would give the dry skinned amongst us time to do some playing with the ingredients in the lotions I've been writing about for the last few days to see what you like before we get into make more expensive products with expensive additives! Let's take a few days to see how we can formulate cleansers for dry skin.

The key to creating any cleanser for dry skin is mildness. We want to use the most gentle ingredients we can and increase that mildness through the use of emollients, thickeners, and other ingredients. Before we get any further into this post, please take a moment to read this post - incorporating mildness into surfactant based products - and we'll continue in a moment...

Welcome back! As you can see, we need to start with a gentle to mild surfactant, add our amphoteric surfactant (cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate), and add our mildness enhancers. Let's take a look at those for a moment and see what might be good for dry skin. 

Cationic polymers: We know dry skin benefits from cationic polymers like honeyquat or polyquat 7. So this is something we'll want to include in our cleansers. 

Hydrolyzed proteins: Normally, we'd use silk protein in products for dry skin, but our goal here is to create a film (that's why they're called "film formers"), so we'll want to go with something like hydrolyzed oat protein. Or you could go for something like Phytokeratin that has a combination of proteins that will penetrate our skin and those that form films. 

Emollients: We want to include water soluble emollients that will increase the moisturizing nature of the product, so we'll want to consider using ingredients like Crothix, glycol distearate, Cromollient SCE, Micro Caprol Express, myristamine oxide, and water soluble oils like water soluble olive oil (PEG-7 olivate) or water soluble shea. 

Myristamine Oxide is a cleansing agent, emulsifier, hair conditioner, emollient, foam stabilizer, viscosity booster, and foam booster. Use at 5 to 20%. I buy mine at the Personal Formulator - I don't think I've found it anywhere else. It's really inexpensive compared to the other water soluble emollients and works very well. Remember, I don't work for and I'm not affiliated with any company that sells bath & body supplies, so this is just my humble opinion, not a sales pitch!

Humectants: We know how much dry skin loves humectants, so there's no doubt that we want to include these in great quantity in skin cleansers. But we won't bother with sodium lactate or sodium PCA as they are rinsed off when we rinse off the surfactant. Better to stick with glycerin, honeyquat, and the other non-wash-off-able humectants. 

Anti-inflammatory ingredients: We can include some wonderful extracts to reduce the results of irritation in our products, like white willow bark, witch hazel, and aloe vera. 

And finally, we need choose our surfactants well. The main ones I use for dry skin products are 
  • sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) as it has a creamy feeling while you're washing and a lovely feeling afterwards. You can use the liquid ammonium cocoyl isethionate as well!;
  • sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (SMC taurate) or sodium methyl oleoyl taurate (SMO taurate), both of which are considered very gentle and moisturizing; 
  • polyglucose/lactylate blend, which is a combination of decyl glucoside and sodium lauroyl lactylate, both of which are considered gentle and ultra mild;  
  • sometimes disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, which is good for all hair and skin types as it is gentle; and
  • definitely cocamidopropyl betaine, which is our secondary amphoteric surfactant that increases viscosity and mildness in our products. 
You're probably wondering why I'm not using decyl glucoside, especially considering it's such a gentle cleanser. The main problem with it is the pH. It has a very high pH - sometimes as high as 11 - and if you don't have a pH meter with which you can measure your product, you run the risk of having a very alkaline product, and that's a terrible thing for dry skin. I have the same issue with disodium cocoamphodiacetate - its pH is very high, and if you can't alter your pH reliably, I'm apprehensive to suggest it. 

You don't need to own all these surfactants. I'd have three in total as a minimum - cocamidopropyl betaine and two others you like. Personally, I'd go with SCI or ACI (ACI is definitely easier to work with as a liquid) and the polyglucose/lactylate blend if you want a really moisturizing product. (This combination is very very moisturizing - too much for oily skin!) If you want something moderately moisturizing and you want to make some hair care products as well, I'd go ACI or SCI and SMO/SMC taurate. If you can afford it, I'd get all three and the cocamidopropyl betaine so you can make pretty much any surfactant product you want! 

The SCI and ACI are what pearlize this hand cleanser and make it so moisturizing!

All right! We have our list of things we'll need to include in our cleansers. Let's start tomorrow with a body wash suitable for dry skin. If you're the impatient type, here are some posts relating to dry skin cleansers...