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@Doreen81 I didn’t see your last
post before I started thinking about this.
I love Kind of Stephen, by the way!
First I must say that any pH test
strips, which give vague qualitative measurements, are inferior to the right
probe or electrode for your applications.
I have several probes and electrodes, and one of my favorites is the
Milwaukee MA918B, which is a glass refillable electrode you plug into meter of
your choice. I like it better than my
similar Hanna ones, which are about double the price. (The Milwaukee one is < 100 USD.) So, given that you have the right kind of pH
probe or electrode (for measuring emulsions with oils and silicones—many are
not good with water + oils and higher viscosities), and that you keep it
calibrated, always go with quantitative over the strips!
I have made this exact mistake of
pH too low causing reaction of niacinamide > niacin/nicotinic acid. I also have done it intentionally in scalp
I will write down things for you,
because I see from your other posts that you are very smart with attention to
details and interested in rigorous science.
(There shouldn’t be any other kind of science!) If you don’t know it, then you will like
learning. If you do, then maybe someone
else will learn. I learn so much here
and try to return the favor when I can.
The niacin flushing is caused by
an inflammatory response releasing some prostaglandins (and other substances –
histamines, etc.) that (among other actions) act as vasodilators. But it is not generally bad. It’s just that people don’t like the look and
feel (which are temporary). But in some
applications the flushing/tingling might be desired, and you can focus on the
concomitant “oxygenation with flushing.”
(People love the idea of oxygen to tissues, but you know that O2 is
quite corrosive and can’t be said to be all good in all cases. I find it odd how so many of the average
people don’t make the connection between O2 and antioxidants, for instance. But I repeat that I think you are above
Here is one of my pet peeves: A widespread and unscientific meme is that
“all inflammation is bad.” A lot of
cosmetics in fact imply as such, by harping on their anti-inflammatory
ingredients. It’s also implied in
vitamins and food supplements industry.
Well, without inflammatory responses in our bodies all the time, we’d
soon be assaulted to death by the environment.
So obviously it’s false to believe “all inflammation is bad.”
The following is an
oversimplification, but it is useful.
Think of acute inflammation = good/okay and chronic inflammation =
bad. Niacin flushing is acute
inflammation, meaning that it resolves quickly.
Another example of something causing acute inflammation is proper and
By the way, the prostaglandins
themselves are both pro- and anti-inflammatory.
A lot of people only think of the various prostaglandins as
bad/inflammatory or pain-causing, but that is not the truth either.
>>> Per the cetyl alcohol, I would
have to know your formula, especially your complete emulsification system. There are several emulsification/thickener
systems I use that start off super thin and runny, but over a span of hours to
a couple of days thicken up a lot – some from runny milk to thick cream. The thickening behavior depends on other non-emulsifier
ingredients, too, as well as how and how long you mix your emulsions, and at
what phase you add some ingredients.
I keep exacting notes on
formulations, and I would advise that you do that, too. For instance, I will write down my
formulation on one side of the spreadsheet, and on the other side I insert
textboxes, where I write down all sorts of notes on process, timing, changes,
and behavior. I write down the notes as
I go along, in my informal lab, because the best notes are contemporaneous and
human memory is a very fallible thing.
Oh, to prevent niacinamide
reaction, I generally don’t go below pH = 5.50.
But I think you can go almost a point lower. Maybe someone else knows exactly.
Also, some buffers don’t act fast,
so you need to wait the appropriate time to take final pH measurements. If you need to bottle while more fluid, then
reserve a bit in a dish for later measurements after reaction time.
@zwapp,Thanks for your extensive answer.I agree
on the pH testing, I prefer meters aswell. Point is, I’m only making stuff for
myself, so I’m not ready (yet) to invest in the highly accurate professional
precision equipment, like what I’m working with professionally.
Because of that, I keep using strips next to the meter to have a kind of double check.
Also my scale will not be as accurate as the ones I work with, but it does the
job for my own concoctions.
I can weigh a minimum of 10 milligrams on my scale, the accuracy is good enough
for my homemade stuff. This type is used for weighing gold/diamonds etc. It also
has a calibration function.
Thanks for your compliment, I also do indeed believe in rigorous science only.
And I sure am very eager to learn.
It’s interesting to read the mechanism behind the niacin flushing. Inflammatory
reactions are indeed not harmful per se to an extent. It’s a natural and
helpful reaction of the body, which is the main reason I don’t easily take for
example NSAID’s for this purpose. Personally, I also like the feel of blushing
flushing. Not necessarily because of the increase of O2 to tissue, but it’s
just an overall nice warm feeling. Maybe I’ll change my opinion when I once
will be menopausal.
I do like to add anti-inflammatory and
soothing ingredients because of the benefits for eczema and rosacea.
Personally, I don’t care much for all the supposed anti-aging, anti-wrinkle
stuff. Maybe because I don’t have wrinkles at all, though I’m almost 40. And apart from tretinoin, I don’t believe
the supposed effects of all those ingredients.
My 3 sisters (I prepare stuff for them aswell) do have wrinkles more or less,
but unlike them, I never sunbathe or smoke and I kind of have a strict skincare
regimen just because the skin is an important organ and I like to care for all
of my organs. Sadly I can’t convince them to give their whole skincare routine
a thorough look, as the cleaning part is essential aswell. So is perseverance.
Only apply a moisturizer once a week or something won’t do much either.
But back to the niacin topic. I was wondering if niacin had any other bad
effects on the skin. I can’t find much about niacin on the skin. Do you mind
telling me for what reason exactly you put it in the scalp treatment?
About your spreadsheet, I do it the same way. Like what I’m used to professionally.
Indeed, a space where you can place notes. If something went wrong for example,
it’s good to know the exact amount you’ve used since there always is a
slight deviation within the perimeters you work with.
As a very general rule, I would give it 24 hours to see the fully thickening effects of any emulsion. I have actually noticed a difference within the first 4 to 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 36, and even up to 48 hours, after that it seems to finish stabilizing and remains the same no matter what it's made up of (as a generality, so don't jump all over that statement).
As a side note, because Cetyl Alcohol is a C16 (and the fatty alcohol equivalent to palmitic fatty acid), it will be a bit lighter and stiffer than the next step up, which is Stearyl Alcohol (C18 - the fatty alcohol equivalent to stearic acid), and is a bit denser, smoother... even though they are both common/good thickeners.
Of course no matter what qualities they have on their own, all that matters is what you're combining it with, because the conglomerate is the outcome.
Just let it sit for a couple of days before drawing any major conclusions.
Has anyone ever studied the effect of combining natural thickeners to emulsions that also contain Cetyl Alcohol? I am making some hard to thicken emulsions and I've tried a couple of natural thickeners but if they are very high in Molecular weight they thicken the emulsion too much. Has anyone tried HEC, CMC or other natural thickeners? My instinct tells me to try lower molecular weight natural thickeners but I don't know if these will do the trick or not. Also, if using natural thickeners, should I lower the amount of Cetyl and Stearyl Alcohol?
Thanks for any help or insight that anyone can give me on this.