Phospholipids (EU) are valuable multifunctional ingredients that are extremely useful
for formulators. These chemicals are composed of fatty acids (EU), a glycerol unit, a phosphate group, and a polar molecule.
Phospholipids are also a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes due to their ability to form lipid bilayers. Most phospholipids contain an acyl diglyceride, a phosphate group, and a simple organic molecule such as choline.
Lecithin (EU) is the most common type of phospholipid and is a general term used to designate substances occurring in animal and plant tissues composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol (EU), glycolipids, triglycerides (EU), and phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylinositol). Lecithin can easily be extracted using hexane, ethanol (EU), acetone (EU), petroleum ether, or benzene (EU). It is usually available from sources such as soy beans, eggs, milk, marine sources, rapeseed, cottonseed, and sunflower.
Properties of Lecithin and its Derivatives:
- Emulsification, solubilization
- Improve barrier function, stimulate ceramide synthesis
- Irritation reduction
- Reduce skin pore size
- Reduce hyperkeratosis
- Stimulate cell proliferation
- Dispersing/wetting agents
- Increase active penetration
- Hair conditioning
- Encapsulation/liposomal active delivery systems
- Increase cationic dye deposition on hair
Important Commercial Derivatives of Lecithin
Lysolecithin (EU) (also called Lysophosphatidylcholine) is produced by the partial hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholines, which removes one of the fatty acid groups. Lysolecithin has been shown to have good emulsifying, moisturizing and solubilizing properties while also increasing active skin penetration.
- Lysofix Dry (Glycine soja (Soybean) Seed Extract-Kemin
- Lecinol WS 50 (Lysolecithin, glycerin-Nikko Chemical)
- Alcolec EM (Lysolecithin -American Lecithin)
- Alcolec C LPC 20 (Lysolecithin -American Lecithin)
- Emultop (Lysolecithin-Cargill)
Hydroxylated lecithin is made by treating lecithin with hydrogen peroxide and an organic acid such as acetic or lactic acid. Hydroxylated is significantly more hydrophilic and stable than lecithin. Hydroxylated Lecithin is very stable and has excellent moisturizing, emulsifying and solubilizing properties.
- Yelkin 1018 Lecithin (ADM)
- NET HS-70 (Hydroxylated lecithin, Glycerin-Nikko Chemical)
Lysophosphatidic Acid (LPA) is a phosphated glyceryl ester produced by removing the choline group from lecithin. LPA has oil control, pore/wrinkle reducing properties, barrier building properties, and increases the skin penetration of actives.
- DisaPore 20/BarPore 42 (Lecithin-Nikkol Chemical)
Hydrogenated lecithin (EU) is made by reacting hydrogen with lecithin resulting in a very stable waxy material. The most useful grades contain 20-30% Phosphatidyl Choline and are excellent moisturizers, nonirritating emulsifiers, and promote the penetration of both oil and water soluble actives.
- Lecinol S-10 (Hydrogenated lecithin-Nikkol Chemical)
- Epikuron 100/200H (Hydrogenated lecithin-Cargill)
- Emulmetik 300 (EU) and 320 (EU) (Hydrogenated Lecithin-Lucas Meyer (EU))