Every one of us must have had one. The uncle…
Are you the emulsional type or do you find yourself lacking in emulsions? An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that normally don’t mix, like oil and water. In certain circumstances, an emulsifier can be added to two normally immiscible fluids to hold them together in a stabilized solution, called an emulsion. Sort of like, you really can’t stand Suzy. But one thing you can agree upon is how much you love the Kardashians. Suzy’s oil, you’re water, and the Kardashians are the emulsifier. Get it? “So what?” you ask, “Why should I care about these ’emulsions?'” Because they’re an important ingredient in skin care products and there are some things you may want to know about them.
O/W and W/O Emulsifiers
About eighty percent of emulsifiers consist of oil dispersed in water (O/W) Because of their high water content, they tend to be low in cost and are favored for their flexibility, stability and non-oily feel. W/O emulsifiers (water dispersed in oil) are known for their resistance to washing off and their skin barrier protection. They spread on skin more easily than O/Ws and are recommended for those with mature, dry skin. They tend to be slightly higher in cost than O/W emulsifiers because they contain more oil which is more costly and harder to produce than water.
Emulsifiers are effective because they give products the benefits of water and oil at the same time, conditioning skin as it cleanses. Commonly used emulsifiers include. PEG-100 stearate, stearyl alcohol, stealth alcohol, glyceryl stearate and cetyl/PEG/PPG 10 dimethicone.
Emulsifier have a huge impact on consistency and performance of skin care products. Consumers are looking for long lasting moisturizers that fight the effects of aging and go on smoothly without residue. Silicone emulsifiers and emulsion are emerging as an option that is capable of bridging the gap between the O/W and W/O systems, thus providing the best of both, producing stable and superior emulsions with high water levels, making them cost effective and high performance.
Storage Of Emulsifiers
Despite being among the most crucial ingredients in skin care products, emulsifiers do have their disadvantages. Since, emulsions are thermodynamically unstable, they tend to revert back to their oil and water phases (separate). An emulsion in its ideal state should not coalesce, cream up, crack, or take on a strange appearance or odor. Extremes of temperature can create these conditions, as can the growth of micro organisms within the emulsion. Emulsifiers should be stored at moderate temperatures in well protected containers to prevent separation. If you notice your product creaming, cracking, or congealing, you may be best advised to toss it. While manufacturers work on ways to increase the shelf life of emulsions, we just need to do our best with storing them and be on the lookout for signs of expiration.
We hope this has not made you overemulsional, but if you still have mixed emulsions, we would love to hear from you. Please send comments and suggestions!!