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The indispensable surfactant in cosmetics

As an important auxiliary material for cosmetics, surfactants are widely used in emulsification, dispersion, wetting, solubilization and other aspects of cosmetic raw materials, and play an important role in the production and preparation of new multi-functional and multi-component cosmetics.
Classification of surfactants
According to the sources and properties of surfactants, cosmetics surfactants can be divided into natural surfactants and synthetic surfactants.
1. Natural surfactant
There are many kinds of natural surfactants and their compositions are complex.This kind of emulsifier has less ability to reduce the surface activity, but has stronger hydrophilicity, can form more stable multi-molecule film, and has higher viscosity in water phase, so it has good effect on the stability of cream and emulsion.Natural surfactants commonly used in cosmetics include saponin, acacia gum, tragacanth gum, sodium alginate, lanolin, sucrose ester, lecithin and gelatin.
2. Synthetic surfactant
Compared with natural surfactants, synthetic surfactants can significantly reduce the interfacial tension of the two phases.At present, although thousands of surfactants have been synthesized, but the actual application of surfactants in cosmetics is only a small part of them, commonly used in cosmetics is dozens of, and the amount of surfactants only 1%~2% of the total production.
The main role of surfactants

1. Emulsification and dispersion
Emulsification and dispersion refer to the fact that non-water-soluble substances can be uniformly dispersed in the dispersion medium to form a stable dispersion system. When the dispersed phase is liquid, it is called emulsification.When the dispersed phase is a solid particle, it is called dispersion.
2. Foaming and defoaming
A bubble is essentially a thin film of liquid surrounding a gas.In the presence of surfactant, the molecules are oriented in the gas-liquid interface on the upper and lower sides of the liquid membrane.Hydrocarbon segments extending into the gas phase attract each other, causing the surfactant molecules to form a fairly solid liquid film;The polar groups extended into the liquid phase have the ability to prevent the loss of the liquid film due to the hydration effect, that is, the effect of bubbling, stabilizing the bubble, but also the effect of reducing the surface tension.Similarly, if the surfactant of the opposite nature is added, the film layer will be destroyed and the bubble will disappear, which is called defoaming effect.
3. Wetting and osmosis
When the surfactant is added into the solution system, as it reduces the surface tension, its wetting Angle becomes smaller, which is shown as the droplet unfolding, so that the material can be quickly wetted or penetrated by water and other solvents.
4. Washing and decontamination (cleaning) function
Washing and decontamination is an important role of surfactants as raw materials for cleaning products. It is also a comprehensive result of the effects of surfactants in reducing surface tension and causing wetting, infiltration, dispersion, emulsification, solubilization and foaming.When dirt meets the surfactant in the washing solution, it is moistened and permeated, and then scoured with external force. The dirt is separated from the surface of the object with the foam, and then dispersed into the washing solution by emulsification and diffusion to achieve the purpose of clean washing.
5. Solubilization
Paraffin hydrocarbons, higher fatty alcohols, fatty acids, dyes and other substances that are insoluble or insoluble in water added to the cosmetics formula can be uniformly dissolved in the system in the presence of surfactants, which is called solubility enhancement.The increase of solubility of water-insoluble or water-insoluble substances is related to the micelles of surfactants, which can be regarded as the result of the oil-soluble substances entering or adsorbing on the micelles.This is also the difference between solubilization and emulsification.
6. Bactericidal effect
Surfactants have some degree of bactericidal or inhibitory effect on microorganisms, especially cationic surfactants and zwitterionic surfactants.
7. Corrosion inhibition
Most of the organic corrosion inhibitors are surfactants.They are easily soluble in oil, but can also disperse in water and form micelles. At the oil-water interface, a directional arrangement of adsorption layer is formed, and the interface state is obviously changed, thus playing a role in slowing down or terminating corrosion.In the aerosol product corrosion inhibition effect is particularly prominent.