Skin Care Moisturizers

Dec 1, 2010 | Contact Author | By: Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.
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Title: Skin Care Moisturizers
moisturizersx conditioningx barrierx humectantsx emollientsx TEWLx conductancex drynessx desquamationx
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Keywords: moisturizers | conditioning | barrier | humectants | emollients | TEWL | conductance | dryness | desquamation

Abstract: Moisturizers are an important category of personal care products, and such formulas are designed to add moisture to the skin. Developing a good moisturizer requires carefully balancing the ingredients in a formula so that, upon application, the product maintains proper water content in the skin, i.e., 10–30%, to maintain its plasticity and barrier integrity.

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EA Abrutyn, Anatomy of a formula: Skin care moisturizers, Cosm & Toil 125(12) 18-25 (Dec 2010)

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Moisturizers are an important category of personal care products, and such formulas are designed to add moisture to the skin. Developing a good moisturizer requires carefully balancing the ingredients in a formula so that, upon application, the product maintains proper water content in the skin, i.e., 10–30%, to maintain its plasticity and barrier integrity. Insufficient water content can lead to the thickening or thinning of skin; fissure development, which produces chapped, rough and cracked skin; and the loss of pleasing skin aesthetics. Therefore, choosing the right moisturizer requires knowledge of its chemical, physical and performance properties and how to best utilize it against the targeted performance claims and consumer expectations. In addition, it requires knowledge of the skin to which it will be applied.

In general, skin conditioning needs can be classified based on skin health: normal, varying degrees of dry, oily, sensitive, dermatologically damaged and mature. There are other ways to classify skin types, most notably by the well-known and modified Fitzpatrick systems, all of which are more centered on the physiological health of skin and effects of sun exposure. Skin discomfort is unacceptable to consumers, thus moisturizers containing emollients and humectants are used to help alleviate the symptoms of skin discomfort. Since moisturizing lotions provide temporary relief of these symptoms, they are applied to the skin as a constant routine for skin management, to help to provide a healthy skin feeling. Following is an abbreviated explanation of the performance criteria of moisturizers, humectants and emollients.

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Figure 1. Example monoester: isopropyl palmitate

Figure 1. Example monoester: isopropyl palmitate

The chemistry of emollients is diverse and covers most fields of chemistry. The most popular emollients are based on hydrocarbons and their derivatives; mineral oil, fatty acid esters, vegetable oils, synthetic triglycerides and polymers.

Figure 2. Example fatty alcohol: cetearyl alcohol

Figure 2. Example fatty alcohol: cetearyl alcohol

Common derivatives used as emollients are: esters of mono and polyhydric alcohols, both linear and branched, which were first developed in the 1950s as porosity esters to duplicate properties of the NMF; dicarboxylic and tricarboxylic acid derivatives such as esters; carbohydrate derivatives including starch; and methylsiloxane derivatives.

Footnotes

a D-Squame sampling discs are manufactured by CuDerm.

Commonly Used Humectants

• Glycerin
• Pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA)/its derivatives
• Polyethylene glycols (PEGs)
• Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs)—lactic acid,
• Histidine hyaluronic acid
• Urea
• Natural complex sugars: honey, molasses
• Beta-glucan
• Carbohydrates/saccharides/sugars: sucrose,
• Betaine glucose, xylitol, mannitol,
• Glycereth-X
• Maltitol, lactose, sorbitol
• Glycols, e.g. propylene glycol
• Alkylamide MEA, e.g., acetamide MEA and
• Polyquaterium-57/61/71 lactamide MEA
• Minerals—sea salts and
• Polysaccharides and carbohydrates, other minerals e.g. chitosan, dextran

Note: Certain derivatives of these ingredients are also reported to also have humectant properties on the skin. Further, there has been limited exploration of synergies between humectants, although one presentation23 has shown data on the synergy between glycerin and alkylamide MEA to boost skin hydration properties.

Commonly Used Emollients

• Mineral oil
• Synthetic triglycerides and polymers
• Fatty acid esters
• PEG compounds, e.g., PEG-45 almond glyceride
• Vegetable oils triglycerides
• Water
• Synthetic alcohols, e.g., isopropyl palmitate and
• Aloe vera diglyceryl caprylate (easily identified by: benzyl,
• Fruit butters butyl, cetearyl, cetyl, glyceryl, isopropyl, myristyl,
• Fruit/vegetable juices propyl, propylene or stearyl)
• Seed and nut oils
• Hydrocarbons, e.g., mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin,
• Methylglucoside esters polyethylene
• Sucrose
• Siloxanes (e.g., dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, • Glucose aklymethyl siloxanes)
• Carbohydrate
• Derivatives of esters of mono- and polyhydric alcohols, derivatives including linear/branched starch
• Dicarboxylic and tricarboxylic acid derivatives, e.g. esters
• Polymers such as polyesters, polyethers, polyacrylates, polyurethanes, poly-carbohydrates, poly-alkoxylates and polyquateriums

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