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O/W Emulsions Enriched with Vitamin E

Contact Author Jelena Djordjevic, Gordana Vuleta and Jela Milic, University of Belgrada; Hongbo Zhai and Howard I. Maibach, University of California at San Francisco
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Vitamin E has an important protective function for the entire organism. It is believed that the broad biological activities of vitamin E are due to its ability to inhibit peroxidation and stabilize biological membranes.

When used in skin care products, vitamin E protects the skin from UV light, may reduce the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles and has a favorable effect on the skin moisture content. However, the effects of vitamin E largely depend on both the concentration and the type of the vehicle. In moisturizing cosmetic products, vitamin E acetate is usually used in the 2-10% range, although studies have shown that the most effective products contain 5% vitamin E acetate.1-3

O/W emulsions and lotions are commonly used as vehicles for vitamin E because the penetration and cutaneous absorption of the fat-soluble ingredient may be significantly improved by applying it in hydrophilic vehicles.2

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Polymeric emulsifiers such as acrylates/ C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer produce emulsions of o/w type, with good aesthetic and tactile properties. Emulsions made with acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer have a triggered release mechanism: the acrylic hydrophilic portion of the polymeric emulsifier hydrogel instantly collapses upon contact with salt content on the skin. This results in the rapid release of the oil phase and immediate formation of an occlusive layer that contains no residual surfactants and is not prone to removal through immersion in water.4

The main objective of our study was to formulate simple and stable o/w emulsions with vitamin E acetate (5%) using the novel polymeric emulsifier acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer at a constant amount (25%) but with different types of oil phase. In addition, we performed dermatological studies to evaluate the effects of these emulsions on skin surface lipids, moisture content and skin barrier function.

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