Wednesday, May 28, 2014
What the heck are those? Liquid crystal emulsifiers
What the heck is a liquid crystal emulsion and why should I care?
HLB system. A high HLB emulsifier and a low HLB emulsifier are combined to create an emulsifier that will help bring the oil and water together. This is what we do with every other lotion, so how is a liquid crystal emulsion different?
The micelle on the right hand side of this picture is what we normally make. The oil is surrounded by droplets of water and this creates what is called a micelle. In the picture on the left hand side, the actual lamellar structure or bilayered structure is composed of layers of oil and water instead of that circular formation.
Studies have shown that conventional emulsifiers can cause irritation to our skin by disrupting the skin's lipid barrier, while the liquid crystal emulsions mimic the lipid bilayers in our stratum corneum, which means more actives or lipids from the lotions can penetrate into our skin.* Studies have shown there is a reduction in transepidermal water loss when using a liquid crystal emulsifier and an increase in moisturization of our skin as the lotions hold more water in contact with the skin for a longer period of time.
As a note, take a look at this paper. The author notes "the efficacy of liquid crystal emulsions deep in the skin is a matter of reasonable theorizing substantiated with little or no clinical data." In this paper, the author notes that "it is hoped that the emulsion components will interact with the natural lipids of the skin". So it sounds like it hasn't been proven that it can deliver actives better to the skin?
cetearyl alcohol is used quite a bit, but you can use cetyl alcohol as well. I haven't seen behenyl alcohol in any recipes, and I did see a note that called for C16-18 fatty alcohols, so that would rule that one out.
The skin feel of these emulsifiers is described as being lighter and more moisturizing than our traditional emulsifiers.
I have to admit that I didn't notice a big difference between the various versions of the moisturizers I made with these emulsifiers. I think they felt a little lighter than something made with Polawax, but I really couldn't tell the difference between the one with Montanov 68 and Lotionpro 165.
So a liquid crystal emulsifier is one that helps to create a liquid crystal emulsion, which is a bilayered structure instead of one shaped like that micelle. It causes less disruption to our stratum corneum, decreases transepidermal water loss, and may help actives penetrate our skin better.
Features: Surfactants 2005
Trends in emulsifiers
Liquid crystal emulsifiers
Cosmetics & Toiletries paper
Micelles, micro-emulsions, liquid crystals, and the structure of stratum corneum lipids
Liquid crystals and the skin
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at Olivem 1000, one of these liquid crystal emulsifiers.