There are numerous non-ionic surfactants, but polysorbate 85 is the star of todays show. (one of these days I am going to apply for a job as an ingredients-namer. Why are they always so boring and unimaginative? Manufacturers seriously need some inspiration and fresh input).
Non-ionic surfactants are useful as emulsifiers. Adding one to a soapy-lathery formula will give the mixture body and keep everything from separating. Non-ionic surfactants are called non-ionic because they are neutral (neither positively nor negatively charged). I know you already knew all this from this earlier posting, but I thought I'd just refresh your memory.
With a Name Like That, it Might Be Bad For You
I realize the name sounds very chemical-like and a bit scary, but polysorbate 85 has undergone testing and you really have to work at it to make this ingredient cause a reaction. If you apply a solution with 10% polysorbate directly on the upper arm of 15 healthy people, keep the area under a bandage (reapplying every day for 4 days), 11 of the 15 people will show minor skin irritation after 4 days. (Read the Effect of Polysorbate 85 on Human Skin here).
For the water-dispersable sweet almond oil I am using, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) describes the proportions as > 70% oil and < 30% polysorbate 85.
Am I worried? No, and Here's Why:
- Because this oil is being used as a wash-off ingredient (in a body scrub)
- Because I have used it for a few years (on my sensitive skin) with absolutely no reaction of any kind
- I source this oil from a highly reputable supplier that I have dealt with for years – and they recommend using it undiluted as a massage oil base
LisaLise Products With Water Dispersable Oil
Himalayan Crystal Detoxifying Body Scrub, Himalayan Crystal Exfoliating Body Scrub
What Else Can you Use Water Dispersable Oil For?
Now there's a fun question! It's at the moment being tried out for infusing herbs (like, say, juniper berries) after which it can be added to a body scrub or massage oil. I have plans on trying it in a hair product and will follow up on that – promise!