Safety about using the common emulsifiers vs. lamellar ones

Hi, I am new here. Just make my own face and body lotion for myself. I don't have ambitions to find a job, or something else. So, as a male I am looking for something that is light, non-greasy and non-shiny. I have found that BTMS-50 in combination with Behenyl alcochol do the job perfectly. But I am concerned about safety by using this emulsifier. I have read that the normal emulsifiers could break the stratum corneum barrier, because they still emulsify after the emulsification proces has been finished. I have tried these so called lamellar emulsifiers, like - Olivem 1000, Montanov 202 and Simulgreen but I couldn't get this nice matte effect of the cationic BTSM.

So, my question is : Are there any serious studies that prove that assertion, and if there are - how actually serious is the problem. I mean is there a risk to use for myself my homemade lotion for a long time? Thanks in advance, and greetings from Bulgaria :smile:


  • What's your source here? 
    Also what do you think surfactants are? (you should look up surfactants vs emulsifiers)
    Is your full formula just those two materials? because I would be a little cautious with that homemade lotion if you're not adding any preservatives. 
  • Hi ggpetrov,

    Like yourself, I'm just here to learn and experiment for my own needs, so I apologize for the lack of citations. 

    As far I know, normal emulsifiers will not cause any harm to the stratum corneum. If there's an excess of emulsifier (wouldn't be much), it may connect with oil upon agitation, but that's what soap does. And emulsifier, by definition, aren't as open to connecting with all types of oils. My understanding is that's what put surfactants in their category - amongst other things, their affinity to combine with oils. Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone, as I'm sure this is a poor explanation. 

    If nothing else, hopefully you agree that the worst that can happen with emulsifier is that it combines with facial oil and makes a pretty gross cream. :)
  • I have read something about this in Susan's swiftcraftymonkey blog. In one of her posts she mentioned that „Studies have shown that conventional emulsifiers could cause irritation to our skin by disrupting the skin’s lipid barrier, while the liquid crystal emulsions mimic the lipid bilayers in our stratum corneum,  which means more actives or lipids from the lotions could penetrate into our skin. Studies have also shown there is a reduction in transepidermal water loss when using a liquid crystal emulsifier and an increase in moisturization of our skin as the lotions hold more water in contact with the skin for a longer period of time“

    And also As a note, take a look at this paper. The author notes “the efficacy of liquid crystal emulsions deep in the skin is a matter of reasonable theorizing substantiated with little or no clinical data.” In this paper, the author notes that “it is hoped that the emulsion components will interact with the natural lipids of the skin”. So it sounds like it hasn’t been proven that it can deliver actives better to the skin? 

    Many of her new recipes are designed with Simulgreen or Olivem. I have tried both, but I can't achieve this powdery effect wich BTMS-50 gives. I also tried Montanov 202 as it is promoted like emulsifier that gives matte effect, but I couldn't get a stable emulsion. After few day it separates. I have tried everything - increased the ammount of emulsifier, added fatty alcochol, processed with high shear blender and so on ... but it has separated anyway.

    Ofcourse I use preservative in my lotions. Below I will post my formula, but it's nothing special though

    In the oil phase :

    • BTMS-50 / 4%

    • Behenyl alcochol / 2%

    • Caprylic Capric Triglycerides / 3%

    • Prunus armeniaca kernel oil / 4%

    • Isoamyl Laurate / 3%

    In the water phase :

    • Allantoin / 0,5%

    • Vegetable glycerin / 3%

    • Glycine betaine / 2%

    • Niacine / 3%


    • D Panthenol / 2%

    • Sodium PCA / 2%

    • Silk protein peptides / 2%

    • Vitamin A Palmytate / 0,5%

    • Vitamin E ( mixed tocopherols) / 0,5%

    • Preservative ( Pottassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Benzyl alcochol) / 2%

  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Behenyl quat emulsifiers such as BTMS are very mild on the skin, have low irritation indices, and get overlooked in skin-care all the time. I see no worries.  Happy formulating, dude.
  • Behenyl quat emulsifiers such as BTMS are very mild on the skin, have low irritation indices, and get overlooked in skin-care all the time. I see no worries.  Happy formulating, dude.
    Thanks :blush:
  • That's actually a good formulation @ggpetrov even if you don't want to work as a cosmetic chemist, you may sell your creams.

    Have you tried a similar formulation with stearic acid instead of behenyl alcohol?
    I always wondered if longer chain fatty alcohols aren't preferable to fatty acids.
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