Emulsion causing redness and irritation

GabyDGabyD Member
edited May 2019 in Formulating
Hello, having a few problems with a formula and would appreciate your help. It’s a Night Cream. Although the original samples were fine, since scaling up something has gone wrong. Now when I try to make small samples again, I am finding the same problem.

Basically the emulsion is reacting with the skin and making it hot and red. I have tried this on a variety of skin types and all are reporting the same problem. I have tried removing some ingredients but have not been able to identify the problem, although I feel the Citric Acid is a factor. The pH is 5.8.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated. 



Water - 64.4

Aloe Vera Powder 0.5

Solagum Tara - 0.3

Coconut Oil - 18

Olyvoyl Emulsifier - 3.8

Shea Butter - 8

Floraesters K100 - 2

Vegelane - 1

Soya Lecithin - 0.5

Microcare SB - 1

Lavender EO - 0.5

Citric Acid to pH 5.8.


  • From Ecocert documentation, olivoil emulsifier contains trace amounts of....
    Potassium Sorbate @ 0,20% and Sodium Benzoate @ 0,10%

    This in combination with Microcare SB at the max recommended level will be a challenge for those with sensitive skin and may be pushing the limit of what the average population can handle too. 
  • GabyDGabyD Member
    What changes would you suggest Elise? Thanks.
  • Assuming you have regular access to testers, I would try a batch like this and see if that solves the problem:
    Solagum Tara
    Coconut Oil
    Olyvoyl Emulsifier
    Shea Butter
    Floraesters K100
    Soya Lecithin

    Then I would add these back in 1 at a time getting feedback from the testers after each addition... (1) citric acid, (2) aloe vera, (3) lavender EO, (4) microcare sb.

    Personally, I threw out my potassium sorbate because I get a flushing reaction anytime I included it in a preservative blend, even at minute levels. 
  • GabyDGabyD Member
    edited May 2019
    Thanks Elise. I will try this.

    What did you use instead of Potassium Sorbate?
  • GabyDGabyD Member
    Just to add, any ingredient I use has to be allowed by the organic authorities and also needs to be palm oil-free.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • p-anisic acid or sodium anisate may help but it's prone to recrystallization so you have to be careful with it. 
  • GabyDGabyD Member
    Thanks so much Elise, I sorted it out, although I’m not sure how! I followed your advice and added Buffer, Lavender EO and Microcare SB in that order, testing in between and no reaction! I also made these changes to the formula: switched Citric Acid for Lactic Acid, ditched the Aloe Vera and reduced the Coconut Oil from 18% to 8%.

    Thanks for all your help. This is a great site and I plan to stick around.

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