Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating About to make my very first creation - nervous!

  • alchemist01

    March 18, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Urea is not particularly stable. Evaporation of water can crystal formation. Temperature fluctuations (I believe within ambient range) and air exposure can cause pH drift.
    According to this paper (http://www.iscd.it/files/UREA-FROM-THE-CHEMIST-S-POINT-OF-VIEW.pdf), urea creams above 10% should be W/O emulsions. “For the treatment of pronounced dermatological disturbances such as psoriasis vulgaris, different
    forms of ichthyosis, atopic dermatitis and extremely dry skin, 10% U in W/0 should be applied (5,6). U in W/0 has not such a distinct immediate effect but has a longer lasting beneficial action due to its deeper penetration into the skin.” W/O emulsions are inherently trickier. For these reasons, and a lot of anecdotal evidence from my coworkers, I view it as a problem in formulating. However, again, I have not worked with it.

    If you feel you have been helped I’m glad. I really don’t see a problem with you making a batch of this stuff and closely watching its stability. Do know a lot of people that try to help on this website are professionals and don’t have time to respond to every reply, I don’t think you should get upset with anyone over that.

  • EVchem

    March 18, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    https://online.personalcarecouncil.org/ctfa-static/online/lists/cir-pdfs/pr310.pdf < Here is the safety report for urea. This article is long but you don’t need to read all of it. 

    The only major safety concern I can think of is the fact urea is a good penetration enhancer, so be careful what else you mix it with.  I don’t see a problem with a ‘urea toner’ , and it’s easier to start simple and work your way up- maybe you just add a gum to thicken the toner for easier application before you tackle an emulsion with it.

  • Pharma

    March 18, 2020 at 5:59 pm
    The problem with urea is it’s degradation which theoretically shouldn’t occur but regularly does in every industry. Why exactly, we don’t know but it tends to hydrolyse (the exact mechanism is only partially known and partially speculative and/or formulation dependent). Problem No. 1: Full hydrolysis results in 1 part CO2 and 2 parts ammonia -> depending on pH, you’ll get a lot or twice a lot of gas bubbles. Problem No. 2: Partial degradation results in formation of cyanide and derivatives thereof.
    Gotta run, watch the news (corona as usual, I’m quite sure about that).
  • jemolian

    March 19, 2020 at 1:32 am

    @wannabe_chemist well, i hope you are not discouraged with formulating with Urea. Perhaps i only find that the issue would only be if you are selling it thus needing to maintain the pH. If not, there shouldn’t be any issues by making small batches if it with a suitable buffer for home use where you can monitor the changes with pH. I’ve made quite some Urea creams myself, usually 50ml batches. 

    Regarding Humblebeeandme, i find that for Marie’s content, it has evolved from kitchen DIY to something more experienced, so i’d only recommend for reference for people that are either beginners or intermediate levels.  

  • wannabe_chemist

    March 19, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    @alchemist01 thank you for your response, it does indeed help! In regard to your statement “ Do know a lot of people that try to help on this website are professionals and don’t have time to respond to every reply, I don’t think you should get upset with anyone over that.”

    I completely agree, and I don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to help me. That is why I was respectful and grateful for any response. Even when he was crapping on my entire concept, I was still respectful. He then crapped all over humblebeandme and couldn’t answer a simple question to state WHY. After 5 days of waiting for a response, I decided to tell the person who asked me about why humblebeandme was not a good source that he just wants to spread fear for some reason. It would be one thing if he just didn’t have time to respond but he has been active on this forum every day.

    I was very excited to finally try and make a urea product after spending over a year trying to find the perfect one. I had been contemplating it for months and months and I finally went through with it after spending much time researching it. If I could just buy the perfect product with 5% urea, I’d rather do that, but I don’t have that option.

    After reading his comments, all my ingredients are just sitting in a box in a closet. I don’t know why anyone would discourage someone without giving them a reason why. I’m gonna give it a shot, maybe I’ll start with a simple ‘toner’ and monitor how it changes. Now I know what to look out for! (information that falls under the helpful category… not discouragement). But anyway, enough of that. 

    Thank you @EVchem, @Pharma, and @jemolian for your tips :) you have no idea how much it helps a “wannabe chemist” out! And jemolian, I have no intentions of selling this or keeping it around for months at a time for that matter. I just want to try and maintain my seborrheic dermatitis with it. You’ve been so great, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. 

  • Pharma

    March 19, 2020 at 7:43 pm
    I had a customer at the pharmacy where I used to work who loved THIS eye cream but wasn’t too happy with it containing not enough urea. Given all the benefits of urea combined with her high appreciation of that particular cream and my careful/minimalist attitude, the solution was obvious: When she bought a pot, which was about once a month, I simply put 5 g of pure urea on top of the new 50 g cream pot, mixed it with a tiny spatula, let sit for a minute, remixed and tada!
    Every time a perfect cream and a happy & satisfied customer.
    Urea, if it doesn’t lead to emulsion destabilisation, is so super water soluble, that it can easily be mixed into a cream/lotion afterwards, like making 200 g stable urea-free cream and then taking smaller aliquots wherein you mix urea right before starting to use respective tiny pot. Should urea turn out to be super unstable in a product, mixing can even be done in your hands by roughly estimating 10% by eye just before you apply the cream (probably weigh cream and urea the first 1-2 times to get a better visual judgement). If your off by a few % it’s highly likely that it won’t matter. Urea is quite forgiving in that regard.
  • ngarayeva001

    March 19, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    It looks like I missed the party?  Humblebeeandme measures essential oils in quote ‘blobs’ and suggests using a surfactant not intended for liquid product for use in shampoo. If someone is in a doubt she is not an appropriate source go to her blog and see how she makes a foundation and what insanity she suggests to use as a color blend. She’s a dilettante, full stop. I do not recommend anyone using that source to lean formulating unless you want to stay on her level make ‘concoctions’ and share ‘recipes’. @wannabe_chemist, next time you want to get an answer do tagging properly. 

  • lewhitak

    March 20, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Well, I think Humblebeeandme is very much a DIY blog and should really be treated as that. The author is very clear on that as well. She does an awesome job at creating DIY recipes for home users but I wouldn’t expect in-depth chemical stability analysis from a DIY blog. That is a bit of an unfair expectation to put on DIY since it is supposed to be useful for any home user versus chemists or industry professionals. 

  • wannabe_chemist

    March 24, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    @Pharma that is brilliant! thank you :)

  • ngarayeva001

    March 24, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    @Pharma, the cream you mentioned is water in oil. This approach might be slightly problematic with o/w, which are the majority of moisturisers on the market. 

  • Pharma

    March 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

    @ngarayeva001 Not at all! Urea is soluble in the water phase and because it’s so hydrophilic, it even works with water as the internal phase (that’s why it required a minute waiting between the two mixing steps). Imagine how fast you’ll be with water as outer phase ;) .

  • ngarayeva001

    March 25, 2020 at 11:48 am

    I agree it will incorporate easily, but it might cause ph shift and hydrolysis. Unless you make tiny batches and use them up very quickly. It’s up to the formulator, I prefer not to take a risk with o/w. Another point, I don’t know if it’s me or anyone else noticed it, sodium lactate feels more moisturizing than urea. I compare 3% pf sodium lactate vs 5% of urea.

  • Cst4Ms4Tmps4

    October 25, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    This post suddenly is about Urea. LMAO!

    You (whoever) really need to read and understand THIS because it is all-you-need-to-know about how to formulating with Urea. I asked the most questions and fortunately @Pharma is the only one who was willing to entertain me in full. He suddenly went silent, I do not know why. But enough data for me to safely and peacefully carry on my experiments.

    Summary: Maintain pH at 6.2, mix something to achieve eutectic solution.

    I have samples at approximately pH 6 and some are low pH (2-4). I keep them in vacuum pump bottle. They expand very little that it does not matter, this is after one year. I live in the tropics, temperature is very high, Urea should be hydrolysed even quicker, but still does not matter.

    Urea will recrystallise if a solution is only Urea and Water. This is the confusing part, people say Urea is a humectant and very hygroscopic, but makes no sense how can it be hygroscopic when it becomes crystals once water is evaporated, yes? Beats me! No body can answer this. LOL!

    Because Urea recrystallises, something else must be added to Urea such as Glycerol, Sorbitol, Sucrose, etc. Basically anything that will not recrystallise once hydrated. So that formation of Urea crystals is prevented. (Fun fact: Another confusing ‘humectant’ which is said to be superior or the best is Sodium Hyaluronate/Hyaluronic Acid. This will become flaky/dried)

    I have been making moisturiser with Urea as the main celebrity for three years, it is difficult to go wrong with it. 

    Lotion Crafter, Humblebeeandme, Swiftcraftymonkey, and the likes of them are not truly into what most actual chemists and pharmacists in this site are doing. DIY sites are regurgitating whatever they read on companies/makers’ brochure. When they say they do their ‘research’, their research is Google University that anybody can do.

    Some DIY sites are obsessed with PubMed or other sciency sites, they whip out circular argument always pointing back to PubMed or other sciency sites. PubMed says 40% Urea is hydrating, they made 40% Urea cream and complained Urea is drying and irritating, suddenly Urea got bad reputation. PubMed says Glycerol makes skin healthy, they slapped on neat Glycerol and complained Glycerol burns and causes itching, suddenly Glycerol got bad reputation.

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