Saturday, May 30, 2009

Breaking E

Step two in a the emulsion business is all about feel.

Thickeners are the real work horses when it comes to a lotion.

Thickeners can make a lotion feel draggy, sticky, gooey and heavy. They are also as the name implies the foundation of thickness.

Thickener can be anything from Carbopols to xanthan gums. And contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as an organic thickener. Xanthan Gum is a bioreacticed product, please get over it.
And carbopols are no longer being purified with benzene. That being said, there are really two different ways in which thickeners operate and this is important to the overall appeal of a lotion.

Xanthan Gums are a class of thickeners that behave like a parachute. Before they are added to water they are packed really tightly and are easy to use. However when added to water they expand and interconnect and give structure making pockets that the emulshon has to fit into. As xanthan gum does this the over all feel becomes slime type feel.

The second method of thickening is by using Carbopols. Carbopols are examples of longer chained polymers that work by assimilation. The reason they work is they attract water and hold water molecules very close to its polymer chain. By doing this it makes water not available to slide around the emulsion and therefore thickens. This method is often used in gel systems and can make for clear products. The lotions that have carbomers have an after feel of tackiness.

When either of the above methods are used they are only short term processes that as soon as physical action is used against them they break down. Making it a temporary fix!

That's all I got for this installment Next time it all about the Fatty!

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