Sodium Hydroxide in Lotion?

Discussion in 'Bath and Body Forum' started by MissE, Dec 13, 2017.

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  1. Dec 13, 2017 #1

    MissE

    MissE

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    My first real-life contact with sodium hydroxide came from soapmaking. Imagine my surprise when I saw sodium hydroxide on the label while shopping for a lotion/cream for the season yesterday. I grabbed a few more at random and scrutinized the labels, and sure enough sodium hydroxide showed up quite a bit. I didn't know they added tthat to lotions and creams!

    Question, what might be the function of sodium hydroxide in a lotion?
     
  2. Dec 13, 2017 #2

    DeeAnna

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    It's used to adjust the pH of the product to keep it within proper limits. No big deal.
     
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  3. Dec 13, 2017 #3

    toxikon

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    Susan has a little blurb about it here! :mrgreen:

    http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/2014/01/weekend-wonderings-are-bath-melts-safe.html

     
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  4. Dec 13, 2017 #4

    jcandleattic

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    Once you start recognizing ingredients, you will notice them in a lot of stuff. Especially NaOH. I never realized until after making soap that NaOH is an ingredient in pretzels and other types of Irish and German breads (and probably other nationalities as well).
     
  5. Dec 13, 2017 #5

    Dahila

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    Buffering solution in lotions
     
  6. Dec 13, 2017 #6

    DeeAnna

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    With respect, NaOH is not a buffer, Dahlia. It is a strong base and dissociates almost completely. A buffer (like soap) by definition does not dissociate (break apart) easily.
     
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  7. Dec 14, 2017 #7

    MissE

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    Thanks, everyone, for weighing in.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2017 #8

    SunRiseArts

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    when I learned that I was thinking the acids in out digestive system must be so strong. :shock:
     
  9. Dec 14, 2017 #9

    Dahila

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    People do call it that. I use it to higher ph in lotions when it goes to low. :)
    Thanks DeeAnna, so what is the proper name for this solution?
    it is 10% Naoh and 90 Water
     
  10. Dec 14, 2017 #10

    lenarenee

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    I once freaked when reading the label of a whitening toothpaste....LYE??? :shock:
    .
     
  11. Dec 14, 2017 #11

    chela1261

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    A couple of weeks ago I bought a hand cream and was totally surprised to see sodium hydroxide in it. I had no idea they used it in lotions, creams etc or why
     
  12. Dec 14, 2017 #12

    dixiedragon

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    Bagels too. That's why we sometimes see lye that is labeled "food grade".

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thesal...pretzel-crust-count-on-chemistry-and-memories
     
  13. Dec 14, 2017 #13

    DeeAnna

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    I'd call it a sodium hydroxide solution. It doesn't have any fancy name that I'm aware of.

    If people are calling sodium hydroxide solution a "buffer," they're mistaken. NaOH can be used to raise the pH, yes, but simple pH adjustment is different than adding a buffer to help stabilize the pH. There are many chemicals that could be used in a lotion to buffer the pH, but NaOH is not one of them.
     
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  14. Dec 14, 2017 #14

    Dahila

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    thank you so much, someone was correcting me in the group that is not naoh solution but 'buffer solution", I do believe in you DeeAnna you never give out wrong information. Thank you so much
     
  15. Dec 15, 2017 #15

    DeeAnna

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    Hmmm. I'm puzzled. I guess I'd have to read the actual discussion to get a better sense of why they're saying NaOH is a buffer. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me at this point, but I suppose I might be missing something.
     
  16. Dec 15, 2017 #16

    MissE

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    Referring to (3), does it mean there is some amount of the lotion that is actually soap?


    I've wondered about the 'food grade' lye, too, is it different than the one we use for soapmaking?
     
  17. Dec 15, 2017 #17

    jcandleattic

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    You can use food grade in soapmaking. It's not different, it's just processed differently so more impurities are taken out. I actually prefer it for soapmaking.
     
  18. Dec 15, 2017 #18

    MissE

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    Thanks, jcandleattic.
     
  19. Dec 15, 2017 #19

    DeeAnna

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    Food grade NaOH may not be any different than the non-food grade except for the degree of laboratory testing. Food grade has to meet more stringent standards for certain types of contaminants such as mercury, but it's made in the same equipment and with the same chemical process as tech grade. It's just one day they test to tech grade standards and the next day the test is to food grade standards.
     
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  20. Dec 16, 2017 #20

    MissE

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    Thanks, DeeAnna. I have to wonder, does going for and using food-grade lye specifically not mean that the soap produced is that much safer for the skin? I would certainly want to avoid mercury ending up in my soap.

    And is food-grade lye more expensive generally than the tech-grade one, or more difficult to find, or what?
     

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