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Solubility vs. Partition Coefficient
Posted: July 2, 2007
page 2 of 2Partition coefficient is measured as the logarithmic ratio of the concentration of the compound in the two phases. The value is a measure of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity of the solute. The value is commonly used in medicinal applications, where it is a predictor of the ability to penetrate cells and the skin. Hydrophobic materials generally are more easily absorbed.
Solubility is a measurement of interest to the cosmetic formulator since it may limit the amount of a compound that can be used in a product. The concept of partition coefficient is very useful in cosmetic formulations, since it is a measure of the ability of a material to penetrate the hair and skin; and consequently how useful it will be in formulations.
Depending on whether the compound is intended to stay on the skin in topical applications or penetrate the skin determines the desired partition coefficient. Partition coefficient is also the scientific principle used in liquid-liquid chromatographic separations.