Exfol cream Formula adjustments for correct ph

I'm exploring formulating a exfoliating cream. The first batch had a ph of of 2.0 measured with meter. Two questions.
 What is the appropriate ph level for such a cream used on the face?
Second, what might I change or add to the formula to get the correct ph? 
The exfoliating face cream formula:
water 63.5%
glycerin 2.0%
aloe vera 10.0%
Aquaxyl 3.0% %D-Glucose, polymer with xylitol and D-Xylitol, 1,4-anhydro-and Xylitol)
allantoin 0.5
ethylhexyl palmitate 5.0%
baobab oil 2.0%
pomegranate seed oil 3.0%
squalane 2.0%
montanov L 3.0% (C14-22 Alcohols (and) C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside)
cetyl alcohol 2.0%
super sterol liquid 2.0% ( c10-30 cholesterol/lanosterol esters

Liquid Germall Plus 0.5%
lactic acid at 90% solution 2.0%

Thanks, Todd



  • Be very, very careful in formulating products like this, especially if intended for the face. If I were you I would give up now and look at something with less potential risk of harm.
  • edited January 2017

    I'm also wrestling with a formula for a leave-on exfoliating cream.
    I made a batch with urea and lactic acid with a pH of 3.0 and I'm still suffering the consequences by using it once, my face has calmed down, but my neck and and decolleté/upper chest are still irritated, especially the neck.
    Would sodium bicarbonate be a good pH adjuster?

  • edited January 2017
    There is no point in us making any comments as you've already experienced undesirable effects from your experimentation but you are persisting in this potentially dangerous exercise.
  • I think Lactic Acid at 90% solution is very strong especially if you are formulating Leave On Product. You may start the scale of Lactic Acid from 20% solution, then, increase it gradually, in a lab batch, but, the matter of trying it on yourself or someone else is very risky and dangerous.  You could legally responsible for the outcome.  This could be the reason for the irritation you suffer from in you neck.  I used to see Glycolic Acid in the exfoliating formulas, but, I didn't notice it in your formula.  From the legal Point of view, you may check with FDA if your product is considered Drug/OTC or Cosmetic.
  • @johnb, I think I experienced those problems because it was too acidic. Is it then so strange to ask if adjusting the pH with sodiumbicarb is an option?
  • The whole concept is potentially dangerous. I strongly suggest that you get more practical formulation experience before you think about semi-pharmaceuticals.

    Regarding sodium bicarbonate, it will generate carbon dioxide in the cream and alter its characteristics.
  • @AnnaLavar:

    Your best bet is to use Sodium Lactate to increase the pH which you should bring up to at least 3.5 to 4.0.  It does not matter the concentration of Lactic Acid that you add to the formula ... with a higher concentration, you'll just add a smaller amount ... the real issue is the final pH of your cream.  It should not be below 3.5.

    A note on testing products:  You've learned the hard way that you should never, ever test a new formulation by putting it over your entire face & neck.  Patch test on your inner arm and see if you have any reaction.  If not, then try a small patch on the face.

    As noted above, no offense, but you really sound too inexperienced and unknowledgeable to be fooling around with alpha-hydroxyacid leave on products.  But, if you are your own guinea pig, there is only one way to learn ... just not first with your face ... test on your arm. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • edited January 2017

    Thank you for the advice, all of you (although this isn't even my post, btw).

    Of course I am not offended, no worries! I am very inexperienced indeed. The only background I have in Chemistry, is on high school level, and even before I became a pharmacy technician. I find Chemistry to be very interesting, but extremely diffcult aswell. Since all the dermatics I prepared through the years were protocolled and standardized, I never had to formulate, so no experience there either.

    That's why I'm so glad I have found this forum. I'm very eager and willing to learn more about this. I've only been on this forum for a few days, and I just can't stop reading.

    I hope you all excuse my inexperience and not so great/fluent English.
    I can imagine this can be frustrating to deal with.

    About the exfoliating cream: I did test it on my arm first ('inner' arm skin).
    The skin there can probably handle a lot more. And now I know my neck is even more sensitive than my face. Oh well, a little itchy and redness and a lesson well learnt. :-)

    @johnb, too bad sodiumbicarb really alters the cream because of the carbondioxide. I also used it to adjust the pH of my vitamin C serum...
    I find it really hard to find out which pH adjuster you need, especially the make something less acidic. At work it's mostly sodium hydroxide.

    @MarkBroussard, thanks for you advice. I will ask my distributor if they sell sodium lactate. Thanks!

    One more question: It's quite hard for me to get salicylic acid (which I prefer). I saw a company selling uncoated asprin tablets for use in DIY exfoliating products. I was amazed, can you really use acetylsalicilyc acid for salicylic acid? And there must be additives in those tablets, the question is what they do.

    @palerider, I hope you get your answers aswell. ;-)

  • edited January 2017
    Thanks all for the comments. I agree that this is a serious thing. I will be deferring to outside source if I pursue it. 
    What about using Multifruit or Phytofruit ingredient for an exfoliating cream? would it be effective? 

  • edited January 2017
    @palerider Why add fairy dust to a functional product?
  • Why indeed john! Thanks for the smile and
     reminder to keep my fantasies in my art work.
Sign In or Register to comment.