Stearic acid an emulsifier?

Discussion in 'Bath and Body Forum' started by Dreamer, Apr 19, 2018.

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  1. Apr 19, 2018 #1

    Dreamer

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    Someone gave me a lotion that I really liked. It was very emollient, not greasy, a nice lotion. I was curious about what emulsifier was used, so looked more carefully at the ingredients. They are as follows:

    Water, sunflower oil, glycerin, stearic acid, shea butter, lavender oil, collagen aminos, aloe vera juice, biotin, jojoba oil, some other oils, and the final ingredient was grapefruit seed extract.

    That's it, nothing else listed. I have never heard about just stearic acid being used as an emulsifier. Has anyone ever made lotion with just SA as an emulsifier? Is that possible that you know of?
     
  2. Apr 19, 2018 #2

    Cellador

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    Hello! I don't believe stearic acid can be used as the primary emulsifier....maybe it would emulsify temporarily, but I'm not sure it woyld be stable.
    Also grapefruit seed extract is not a preservative. I'd be wary of this lotion, personally.
     
  3. Apr 19, 2018 #3

    cmzaha

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    Where is the preservative? Grapefruit seed extract is NOT a preservative. With the proteins and other bug food I would not use that lotion.
     
  4. Apr 19, 2018 #4

    DeeAnna

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    No, stearic acid is not an emulsifier. It can thicken a product, but that's all it can do.

    I suspect this is a "lotion" that's thickened with stearic and the shea, but it's not actually emulsified. It has a high chance of weeping and separating.

    An emulsifier has a polar (electrically charged) end and a non-polar (not charged) end. The polar end is able to "hold hands" with water and water-soluble materials and the non-polar end can hold hands with fat and fat-soluble materials. It forms a bond between materials that don't normally want to speak to each other, much less hold hands.

    A thickener isn't able to form this link, so it can't create the long-term stability in a lotion that an emulsifier can. A lotion that only has a thickener might look like a good lotion, but it's like a house of cards -- if one thing happens such as a change in temperature or the simple passing of time, the house falls down -- or the lotion fails.

    I don't see a preservative either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  5. Apr 19, 2018 #5

    Dreamer

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    Thank you for your input, everyone.
    I had never heard of SA as an emulsifier either and was surprised that there was nothing else in the ingredients pointing to an emulsifier. I think I will take a chance and try to make a lotion using it. What the heck, if I make a very small batch, there is little to lose. The lotion I was gifted stayed stable all the years I had it. It's all a bit strange because this is a pretty large company. I doubt they would not list ingredients that their products actually contained. I am confused. I also purposely e-mailed them and specifically asked about an emulsifier in that product, and they confirmed that it was the SA they used.
    Regarding GSE as a preservative, I know many people do not think it works. It is all I use in my lotions, however, some of which lasted a year and a half before they were empty. I have never had a problem with any of mine. I purposely use jars (as opposed to pump dispensers) and make a point to use at least a little every day of each to really test them. So at least 1X/ day the jars get opened and fingers get put in to get some lotion. The lotion goes through temperature fluctuations of the seasons, too, including the heat of the summer since we don't use AC, with the temps sometimes hitting close to 90 degrees in our bathroom. Yet I never saw any mold. I don't sell my lotions and so have never had them tested, but all my lotions have kept a fresh smell, stayed stable, and felt wonderful.
    The product I talked about in the original post is made by a pretty successful company that has their products in spas all over the country and some high end department stores as well. I am sure they have their things tested; they'd have a lot to lose if someone sued them. It took me about 5 years to use up all of the 16 oz. container from them (for which they charge $65+! As I said, it was a gift... :) ), and there was never anything in there that showed itself in any way as funky. But everyone should do whatever they are comfortable with. For me (and for them, since they still use it in that lotion currently) the GSE has worked very well.

    I will post my results if I try a lotion with SA if anyone is interested. Meanwhile, should someone else have already tried it, I'd love to hear your experiences with it. Thanks, everyone!
     
  6. Apr 19, 2018 #6

    cmzaha

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    Problem is lotions grow bacteria extremely quick without preservative. Even making them for yourself can be dangerous, but I suspect you will not agree. Maybe you should send one out for testing and get the results, you might have a real awakening. Buggy lotion does not necessarily change color, smell off or look at all different, but can still be filled with mold and bacteria. I also agree that SA acts as a thickner not an emulsifier. Look up different emulsifiers and see what the actual ingredients are. You speak of the large company not having problems, but a while back several patients died in a hospital, sorry do not remember all the details, it was traced back to a failed preservative system. So if you like playing with fire and if they like selling un-preserved lotions so be it. I would never purchase it myself. Not worth my life or severe infection to use something like that. I have a lotion that I am still trying to protect with several different combinations of preservatives and every time it is tested it is filled with mold. It looks, and smells fine but grows beautiful black mold on cultures
     
  7. Apr 19, 2018 #7

    DeeAnna

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    "...Regarding GSE as a preservative, I know many people do not think it works...."

    There's no "think" about it. This is a proven fact, not opinion. The preservative qualities attributed to GSE are from chemical contamination in the GSE, not from the GSE itself. The level of contamination can vary, so whenever you use GSE as a preservative, you're gambling that whatever preservative contamination in the GSE is good enough to preserve your product.

    "...Buggy lotion does not necessarily change color, smell off or look at all different, but can still be filled with mold and bacteria...."

    I agree with Carolyn. Fungi become visible when they produces fruiting bodies, but until then, you can't see fungal growth. Bacteria are invisible to the naked eye and don't necessarily produce visible changes or odors. So a lack of change to the eye or nose doesn't prove there is no problem.
     
  8. Apr 19, 2018 #8

    Saponificarian

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    For any newbie reading this thread and trying to use GSE to preserve lotion, please by all that is good DON'T DO IT! You risk blindness, sepsis and death for not using something that cost less than $10 for 2oz and that maximum usage of most preservative is between 0.5% - 1% of your total lotion. If Liquid Germal plus and all those Approved preservatives cause cancer, majority of the people here will be dead and we are not! We are alive and kicking up a soap storm because we choose to be safe!

    Not preserving your lotion is like 'using the teeth of a live cobra to scratch an itch' (Nigerian Proverb). Very dangerous, very very dangerous.
     
  9. Apr 19, 2018 #9

    cmzaha

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    ^^^I like the Nigerian Proverb :D It is just craziness to not use preservative and not GSE
     
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  10. Apr 19, 2018 #10

    Saranac

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    Susan, in her Point of Interest blog, wrote about how one can use stearic acid and triethanolamine as an emulsifier, and I wonder if this list of ingredients is "accidentally" incomplete. Did you pull the list of ingredients from a bottle or a website? I've noticed that sometimes websites only highlight "friendly" ingredients; I assume this is to make their products look more natural. But even if the LOI is from the bottle, don't assume that it's 100% correct. Even "pretty large" companies make mistakes.
     
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  11. Apr 19, 2018 #11

    DeeAnna

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    You have a point, Saranac. It's frustrating when companies do that. It's like soapers who want to gloss over putting lye on their soap ingredients list.
     
  12. Apr 19, 2018 #12

    earlene

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    I was wondering the same thing, in addition to the thing about not having to list ingredients that are considered 'trade secrets'. I don't know why a preservative would be a TS, though. That seems counterproductive to sell a product that needs one, and then not listing at least the word, 'preservative' or some such.
     
  13. Apr 20, 2018 #13

    Dreamer

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    Thank you for the link. That is the same combination I found on the Lush website when looking around to see if SA can be used as an emulsifier.
    As far as the ingredients list, I know what you mean about some sites only listing the highlighted ingredients. It's quite annoying, actually. I was looking for a particular type of product the other day for someone who has allergy issues, and found a few websites that did not list ingredients. I just left those. I don't have the time or interest to have to e-mail or call the company extra to get the information. So I just look elsewhere.
    This particular company is very good about listing ingredients on their site. The ingredients I listed were straight off the bottle. I received it as a gift 5 years ago so there have been a couple of changes, but nothing major. Mine didn't have the uva ursi extract which the current one now does.
    The link to the company:
    http://epicuren.com

    link to the particular lotion I was talking about:
    http://epicuren.com/Body-Moisturizers/French-Lavender-After-Bath.html
     
  14. Apr 20, 2018 #14

    Dreamer

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    That outlook is a bit naive. Not talking about Germall, per se, I never looked into it much, but in general to make the assumption that just because someone is not showing any symptoms of something that that means they don't have it, is not true. Many things don't show for quite a while. My friend, for example, had a growth found quite by accident when she was 38 years old, and when biopsied, it was found to be a particular type of cancer caused by asbestos, which takes 20 years to fully manifest. She was exposed to the asbestos when she was 18, got diagnosed with the cancer when she was 38, and died a year and a half later. One just doesn't know what is growing inside of one. People get diagnosed with cancer in record numbers these days, yet just about all that cancer being diagnosed didn't just pop up. It takes years, usually, for it to grow enough to be found and diagnosed. My point is that just because someone doesn't have symptoms and is feeling perfectly fine, as my friend was all those years before the cancer was diagnosed, does not mean stuff isn't building and brewing into cancer or some other horrid illness.
     
  15. Apr 20, 2018 #15

    Cellador

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    I can't day for sure, but I read on a couple of sites that Epicuren has several patented ingredients. My guess is they are not required to disclose the full ingredient make-up of their proprietary items. Perhaps additional emulsifiers and/or preservatives are hidden in the proprietary ingredients.
     
  16. Apr 20, 2018 #16

    Saponificarian

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    I am really sorry about your friend. It is hard losing a loved one and especially harder when they die so young.

    Many of us started this handmade journey for one reason or the other. From trying to get away from unnecessary chemicals in commercial products to maybe trying to formulate something better to help address skin issues. While all our reasons for embarking on this journey may be different, one thing we should all have in common is continuous learning and this is what I mean.

    When you want to make a body product especially for a leave on, the onus is on you to know as much as you can. Your goal should be to know almost as much as the commercial guys formulating and this comes by continuous learning. They never stop learning and innovating... why should you?

    You need to understand why you are using each item(material,etc), what it brings to the product as whole. Why you should use it and for some, the risk associated with using it or not using it. All this knowing comes by learning. I personally believe your learning is not complete in making body products until you have learnt about the why and wherefores of preservatives. The risk far far outweighs the benefit if you are not using preservative in your handmade products.

    I hope you know it is near impossible for the Home crafters like us to make sterile products. We can sanitize and be extremely careful about everything but it is near impossible to make sterile products at home. So what happens to that 0.0001% germ, bacteria or fungi that got through the process? It grows and multiply because there is nothing stopping it from growing and then you get out of the shower to slather on lotion that has germs, bacteria and fungi growing in it?! What happens if you happen to have a wound or a scratch while using this cream?

    Please research preservatives and decide on 1 or 2 before you start making body products. It is very very important. Else go the anhydrous route. I have some recipes I can share that is not greasy if you absolutely have to make your ow product and don’t want to use preservative.

    This company you linked to uses a combo of Ethylexylglycerine, Benzoic acid, sorbic acid for preservation. I also saw Ethylexylglycerine and Phenoxyethanol in one of their products too which begs the question why preserve some products and not others? Especially with Aloe Vera and amino acids.. my conclusion: They used preservative, they just didn’t state it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
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  17. Apr 20, 2018 #17

    Soapprentice

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    Yeah, I recently came to know that you are not obligated to put preservative in your ingredient list. Something about 1% or less ingredients need not be added.

    I understand why they prefer not to but not necessarily agree with it.
     
  18. Apr 22, 2018 #18

    Dreamer

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    You are making a lot of assumptions about my knowledge and research, or lack thereof, regarding the microbial world. While I know you mean well, your post could come across as rather condescending. :) I came on here to ask about SA as an emulsifier and somehow you have decided to give a lecture about preservatives. lol Had I wanted advice about preservatives, I would have asked.
    I appreciate your offer of a recipe, though; that is generous and kind, but I am all set. I have been enjoying wonderful recipes for lotions, body butters, and salves for a few years already that I am very happy with.

    Looking at another thread, https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/less-oily-body-butter-please.68821/, the OP of that thread may appreciate the recipe you mentioned, however.
     
  19. Apr 22, 2018 #19

    Dreamer

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    The implications of that would be huge. With all the misinformation on the internet, I would love to see a citation of that. Can you provide a link of some sort to a credible source? Thanks!
     
  20. Apr 22, 2018 #20

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    You will find that people will give unsolicited advice on certain topics. It's actually one of the things that makes this forum so helpful, that if there is something else in a recipe or procedure worth considering but wasn't directly part of the question asked by the op, people will still mention it as a way of making sure the op is aware of it
     
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