Saturday, October 5, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: pH with willow bark extract, using Optiphen ND with proteins or goat's milk, and some administrative things

In this post on white willow bark, Heela asks: I wonder if this needs to be in a product that has a pH between 3-4 like traditional salicylic acid? Also, if it is in a higher pH formulation, does the salicylic acid become neutralized or can you drop the pH and retain the benefits?

No, it doesn't need to be at a pH that low, as far as I know. The liquid versions I have used - like his one from Formulator Sample Shop and this one from Lotioncrafter - have a pH of 4 to 6.5, and this is the recommended pH usage range. This is one of the reasons to use willow bark over salicylic acid: It's easier to formulate with it and you don't need to use a specific solvent, like alcohol, to dissolve it.

In this post on Optiphen ND, Deb asks: So - if the dehydroacetic acid can be deactivated by proteins, does that mean that this is not the best preservative to use with lotions with goat's milk in them or any of the hydrolyzed proteins?

My short answer is yes, I would avoid using those ingredients. My longer answer is yes, but I'm not sure I'd want to use Optiphen ND at all, to be honest.

In the post, I write: Dehydroacetic acid is one of our organic acids. It has great fungicial properties but low bactericidal properties, so it's a good addition to this mix to make it a broad spectrum preservative. Unfortunately, it tends to work very poorly when included at a pH of 5.0, and it can be inactivated easily by cationics, non-ionics, and proteins.

There are two other preservatives in this product - phenoxyethanol at up to 81%, which has good activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria as well as yeast, and benzoic acid up to 12.5%, which is a good fungal fighter - so those will take up the slack, but I'd use it at maximum allowable amounts of 1.2%, which will give you about 0.97 grams phenoxyethanol and 0.15 grams of benzoic acid in every 100 gram batch of lotion.

Can I be honest? I'm a little nervous when I see a preservative that can be inactivated by common non-ionic ingredients, like Polawax or polysorbate 20, and cationic or positively charged ingredients, like BTMS-225 or BTMS-50, because that leaves us with what kind of emulsifiers? Anionic ones, and something like Ritamulse SCG is slightly anionic (although there's a debate about that), so it's really not a suitable preservative for any lotions we might make. You have a really small window of pH for this preservative - you want to be at 5.1 to 6.0 or so - and it seems like it's only suitable for anionic products, like those with foamy and lathery surfactants, so body washes, shampoos, or facial cleansers.

May I ask a question: Why goat's milk? I guess I just smell the gamey goat smell in it and worry about it going off when not refrigerated. Plus, I can't find studies on it. Those of you who like it - why? (Please don't think I'm asking in a disrespectful way. I'm just curious!) And anyone who can send me some studies or a break down of what it contains, thanks in advance!

Please note, I have never used this preservative. I'm going by the data sheets and information I've learned about preservatives. 

I really can't stress enough how much I need you to include your complete recipe and process to troubleshoot something. Although I've been writing people back lately to ask for that information, if you don't get an answer your question, it might be because you didn't include this in your comment or e-mail. I honestly don't have time to go back and forth to get that information. Please include it in your initial contact with me and it makes answering your question so much easier!

As well, I can't stress enough checking out the FAQ before you write to me. I'm happy to hear from you, but you'll find the answer your question about suppliers in your part of the world in that section, not by writing to me. My response will be to send you there as I don't know where you live and don't know the suppliers near you. The people who live near you are the experts you seek as they have shopped with these suppliers and offer their insider knowledge know about suppliers, and they've commented in those sections. I can't encourage you enough to visit the FAQ!

See you tomorrow!


p said...

I have an idea, Susan... How about you have an autoreply to blog-related emails that spells out the points you have to keep repeating (include your full recipe, read the FAQ, search the blog)? And I'm not sure how much you can alter the process by which your readers leave comments, but if you included these brief instructions (about searching the blog first, etc.) instead of simply "Leave your comment," or if there were a way to make a commenter check a box saying they understand that they should search the blog before asking a question, I bet it'd help. After all, if someone's not a regular reader of the blog and they have a question, they're not likely to be reading your repeated entreaties to to search the blog unless you constantly repeat the message, which would get annoying for all involved. Just a thought!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. I love that idea...only I can't autoreply when I respond on my iPad, and I use that the most. I could wait to reply until I get to my laptop, but that leads to having 3433 unread messages. (No joke!)

I have looked because the comment thing is a great idea, but there doesn't seem to be a way to change it. Although, having said that, I think the issue is more about e-mail than people leaving comments because the comments can be addressed by other readers of the blog, whereas e-mail is my responsibility alone.

Wow, I sound really negative, don't I? I love the idea of the auto-reply, and I'm going to take a look and see if I could do something about it! I did take out the word verification for the comments as I'm curious how many robots or spammers the Captcha's really keeping out considering I'm getting dozens of spam comments a day lately, and they seem to be able to write letters as well as normal people!

p said...

Hey Susan! I haven't ever set up auto-repyling myself, but from a brief google search it looks like it's easy to do with gmail. From what I understand, the way it would work is that when gmail receives a new email for you, they automatically send a canned message to the person who wrote you, without you having to do a thing. It might be worth setting up a gmail account for blog-related email, just for the auto-replying!

Btw, totally unrelated, but I've been enjoying your crafty youtubes. It's neat to hear your actual speaking voice after hearing your authorial blog voice for years! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
sorry i left out the recipe (coz i thought i dint need to as it was originally yours!)
10%hazelnut oil
8% avocado
8% Ewax (cetearyl alcohol&cetearyl glucoside)


1% germall
1% f.o

the problem is really with the oil phase..once everything melted,masses gooey clump start to form. It starts off looking a little cloudy then starts to aggregate looking like pieces of phlegm (im sorry!!gotta say what it looks like!).when i pick them up from the oil phase and touch them between my fingers it starts to harden and flatten into a waxy thing. I hav no idea why that is!!when i went ahead to combine the 2 phases, my emulsion separated the next day. Thank u for your time!! Eeting

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. Well, taking out the word confirmation was a big mistake. I just woke up to 18 spam messages! So it's back!

Hi eeting! I always ask for the recipe because you aren't likely to have all the ingredients I have, and I need information like the type of e-wax you used, for instance. (This is listed as Sugarmulse or Montav 68?) As well, I need to know the type of oils and such. I need your process.

Did you heat and hold? If so, what did you do. Did you add the water phase to the oil phase or vice versa? How did you mix it? How long and with which type of mixer? And so on.

I think the problem is your emulsifier, but I'm not really sure without all this information. Please provide your process for me.

Deb said...

Hi Susan - Thanks for your answer regarding the Optiphen ND. I appreciate it. SO, if I wanted to make a goat milk lotion (and no, it does not have a gamey smell at all, rather a sweet scent), what preservative would you recommend that is not a paraben or a formaldehyde donor. Pretty much all of my customers ask if I use parabens, etc. I really wish I could use it as it's such an effective, broad spectrum preservative. What about the Geogard Ultra? The proteins in goat milk along with the vitamins, minerals and casein are more readily absorbed by the skin and the lactic acid in milk provides a gentle exfoliation (anecdotal info - I have not seen any testing that confirms this although it may be out there). Thanks again, Deb

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan!
yes i did heat and hold for 20mins.(i don't try to be i have been following ur exact method in lotion making at least for now!!).as for the Ewax i only know it is from Germany and is made from cetearyl alcohol & cetearyl glucoside. It doesn't mention any commercial names..and my supplier doesn't seem to know more either.

the oil phase would be heated approx 5 mins into the holding stage (at 70deg) till the cloudy mass starts to form. I added the water phase to the oil phase in a slow steady stream with continuous mixing approx for 10mins after combining the phases.

i tried another recipe with the same ewax, varying the oil phase consisting of 8% Ewax, 3%mango butter and 15%almond oil. Jst as a test. No weird phlegmy clumps!
Are u aware of any reactions of anything in that ewax with shea butter? I can't think of the reason!!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi eeting. I think it's the emulsifier. I can't think of what else it is. I haven't used this one, so I can't really offer more information.

Hi Deb. Liquid Germall Plus and Germaben II are two I've used extensively and I feel fairly confident in saying they would work. Of those two, I would go with Germaben II as it is meant for things that are harder to preserve. Geogard is one of those preservatives that I haven't tried and I'm loathe to suggest. Check out the post for more information.

Heela said...

I am so excited that you answered my question! And I am excited about the answer. Thanks for taking the time!