Pickering Emulsions: Pros and Cons of Use to Emulsify Biobased Lotions and Creams

Are Pickering Emulsions effective and long-term stable when used to emulsify primarily biobased lotions and creams?

What have been your experiences formulating with Pickering Emulsions?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of formulating with Pickering Emulsions?

Any comments, suggestions and discussion of formulating with Pickering Emulsions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    From what I've read, they're super fancy and very stable because they're a bit like microencapsulated oil droplets which can neither fuse/coalesce nor undergo Ostwald ripening.
  • Why are so few formulators formulating with Pickering Emulsions in 2020?

    What would you suspect are the reason(s) for this apparent lack of popularity of Pickering Emulsions as an emulsification technique among cosmetic chemists?

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    My guesses are...
    1. The manufacturing equipment in the industry is not set up to make them
    2.  They are probably more expensive to make and current technology works well enough
    3.  Nanoparticles - there is some consumer hesitation about nanoparticles.

    That would be my guess. Since they've been around for a long time and haven't caught on, it's probably that the cost/benefit doesn't justify using them.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    From what I understand, pickering emulsions are less forgiving to composition changes (= less flexibility such as last-minute adaptations), they are micellar emulsions (= spherical droplets in a continuous phase), have a small particle size with narrow size distribution, and there's a lot less 'emulsifiers' to choose from (some are, like @Perry mentioned, nano-sized or else grainy whilst others are expensive such as janus particles). Chitosan on the other hand seems promising at first but alas, requires a high pH for stable pickering emulsions.
    The second and third points result in more liquid formulations. I suppose many pickering emulsions will have difficulties handling additional thickening agents.
    On the other hand, many modern creams are not micellar emulsions but of a mixed-type containing lamellar phases, 'liquid crystal' phases, hexagonal structures etc. with which 'pickering' isn't quite as easy (if at all, let alone that someone understands how that would work). Such mixed emulsions are easier to make, don't need new equipment, and are more versatile/flexible in most regards.
    The trend might be more towards micro- and nanoemulsions using low-cost manufacturing such as cold processing, PIC and D-phase emulsification... but as mentioned, the often liquid consistency of the latter two isn't what customers want and hence, fancy as PIC and D-phase are, they too struggle getting the attention/prevalence they might deserve. True, they are anything but easy to create.
  • @Pharma do you speed read all day or do you just read while you’re sleeping? 

    Haha thank you for educating us (me) on a subject I didn’t know I needed to know about - again. :blush:
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Honestly, I just write some meaningless stuff but add a bunch of hyperbolic words. This lets me look superconductively smart although I have no idea what the heck they mean. :smiley:
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    BTW BergaMuls ET 1 does, apart from water gelling, also forms Pickering emulsions or, should I say, uses said principle to stabilise oil droplets within a (partially) gelled water phase ;) .
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