Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating How would you design a Glycolic Acid Moisturizing lotion? Two industry leading examples within

  • How would you design a Glycolic Acid Moisturizing lotion? Two industry leading examples within

    Posted by Zink on April 14, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I was asked to make a simpler AHA lotion, and I’m wondering what changes you all would make to two similar industry leaders (well, Aqua Glycolic was praised until reformulated). Common ingredients bolded and with quick guesstimate percentages:

    Aqua Glycolic pH 4.4 (before it was reformulated)

    rest% Water
    8% Cetyl Riconoleate (emollient, could be replaced by cetyl alcohol?)
    6% C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient)
    ~5% Glycolic Acid
    ?% Hyaluronic Acid (might be too high on the list)
    4% Ceresin (emollient, thickener)
    3% Ammonium Glycolate (pH buffer)
    3% Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate (emulsifier)
    2% Sorbitan Stearate (co-emulsifier)
    1% Sorbitol (humectant)
    1% Propylene Glycol (humectant, antifreeze ;)
    0.5% Diazolidinyl Urea (Preservative, not allowed in EU)
    0.1% Methylparaben (preservative)
    0.1% Propylparaben (preservative)
    0.5% Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (thickening agent and poss pH buffer)
    1% Dimethicone (film former)
    0.3% Xanthan Gum (thickening agent)
    0.1% Trisodium EDTA (preservative)

    Alpha Hydrox Essential Renewal Cream ph 4, many of the same ingredients with guesstimates.

    rest% Water
    10% Glycolic Acid
    5% Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate
    4% Ammonium Hydroxide
    3% Cetyl Alcohol
    3% Propylene Glycol
    3% C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
    2% Stearic Acid
    2% PEG-40 Stearate
    2% Cyclomethicone
    1% Polyacrylamide
    1% C13-14 Isoparaffin
    1% Laureth-7
    1% Glyceryl Dilaurate
    0.5% Polysorbate 60
    0.4% Xanthan Gum
    0.3% Sorbic Acid
    0.3% Magnesium Aluminum Silicate
    0.3% Imidazolidinyl Urea
    0.2% BHT

    How would you improve upon these formula bases? I.e.

    Glycolic Acid
    Glyceryl Stearate and PEG 100 Stearate 
    Ammonium based pH buffer
    Cetyl Alcohol or Riconoleate
    C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
    Propylene Glycol
    Preservative system
    Film formers
    Co-emulsifiers
    Xanthan Gum

    Zink replied 7 years, 2 months ago 7 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • johnb

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Glycolic acid would not be my ingredient of choice in a moisturising lotion. Is it meant to be a moisturiser or an AHA (exfoliating) product? I am somewhat confused.

  • Bill_Toge

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    that’s a very open-ended question: what I would change depends on what particular physical aspect of the product is deficient, or that the customer wants to change

    that said, personally I’d get rid of the Sepigel in the second one and put in a better emulsifying system

    and diazolidinyl urea is permitted in the EU, up to 0.5% - see Annex V/46

  • Soapily

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 10:38 am

    In my experience , Glycolic Acid don’t use for Moisturizing. Because
    its an active substance, if not used correctly it can cause damage. Skin needs
    to get used to it - a percentage that is too high can cause redness, irritation
    and in severe cases ‘frosting’ - a flaky crusting of skin that develops as a
    protection reaction, and which can last for days. Chemical peels use a high percentage of this acid and can be
    very effective if done safely and properly.

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Glycolic Acid is an exfoliating acid.  If you want to make a moisturizing AHA cream, you should be using Lactic Acid, not Glycolic Acid.

  • Soapily

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Hyaluronic acid,
    Lactic acid (Buttermilk is rich in lactic acid),  Glycerin, Olive oil, Castor oil, Coconut oil,
    aloe vera, Shea butter,
    Petrolatum …

  • Soapily

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Glycolic Acid 
    Glyceryl Stearate and PEG 100 Stearate 
    Ammonium based pH buffer
    Cetyl Alcohol or Riconoleate
    C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate

    Preservative system
    Film formers (don’t use silicons)
    Co-emulsifiers
    Xanthan Gum  not good for lotion, U can replace it

    Moisturizing function :
    Propylene Glycol, Hyaluronic acid, Lactic acid (Buttermilk is rich in lactic acid),  Glycerin, Olive oil, Castor oil, Coconut oil, aloe vera, Shea butter…

  • Zink

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    @johnb it’s an exfoliating moisturizer, many use them as facial moisturizers to get smoother skin and get the benefits of AHA’s (stimulated collagen and ceramide synthesis). I used the second one myself as a teenager to help backne. Some people also use them for keratosis pilaris.

    @Bill_Toge in this case I’m just asking how you could simplify it, whilst maintaining or improving sensorials. A good starting point would be, what’s the base formula that gets you 90% of the performance of the formulas above.

    @MarkBroussard Lactic acid is also exfoliating, but maybe ~30% less than glycolic? At the end of the day I don’t think you’ll get dramatically different effects with either one, although lactic can have the drawback of ant-piss scent depending on source. 
    “2003 randomized clinical efficacy of superficial peeling with 85 percent lactic acid versus 70 percent glycolic acid”

    @Soapily I would not use olive oil in any moisturizer, too much oleic acid and disruption of the skin barrier.
    “2002 Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries.”

  • DRBOB@VERDIENT.BIZ

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Consider replacing glycolic etc with capryloyl (C8) salicylic acid. https://www.ulprospector.com/documents/1501317.pdf?bs=5573&b=703424&st=1&sl=45265420&crit=a2V5d29yZDpbU0FMSUNZTElDIEFDSURd&k=SALICYLIC|ACID|acidic|acids&r=na&ind=personalcare

  • Zink

    Member
    April 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Here’s another full formula from Vanderbilt, I have some questions

    1. Why are they all using Magnesium Alu Silicate? Better skin feel than only using gums?
    2. Why C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate and not e.g. Squalane or (more) Caprylic/Capric Trigylcerides?
    3. Why Ammonium Hydroxide instead of Triethanolamine as pH adjuster? Are there more “natural” alternatives? NaOH, Urea etc?
    4. Would a BTMS based emulsification system likely work here? 
    Intensive AHA Moisturizing Lotion No. 476 
    VEEGUM® Ultra Magnesium Aluminum Silicate 1.50
    VANZAN® NF Xanthan Gum 0.50
    Water 73.34
    B
    Glycerin 3.00
    Butylene Glycol 2.00
    C
    Cetyl Alcohol 1.00
    Glyceryl Monostearate SE 3.00
    Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Neobee® M-51) 5.00
    C12-15 Octanoate (FinesterTM EH-252) 1.00
    Dimethicone (XIAMETER® PMX-200 Silicone Fluid 350cs3) 1.00
    Steareth-2 (Brij® S24) 0.83
    Steareth-21 (Brij® S7214) 0.83
    D
    Glycolic Acid, 70 % 7.00
    Triethanolamine 3.20
    Citric Acid (to pH 3.8 ± 0.2) q.s.
    E
    Preservative, Fragrance q.s.

    METHOD
    While heating the water to 75°C, slowly add the VEEGUM Ultra and VANZAN NF sequentially or as a dry blend to the water agitated at maximum available shear. Mix until fully hydrated. Add the remaining water phase ingredients from Part B, mixing until uniform. Maintain the water phase at 75°C. Blend the Part C oil phase ingredients and heat to 75°C. Add the oil phase to the water phase with good agitation; mix until uniform. Cool while mixing. Add the Part D and Part E ingredients when the emulsion is <40oC. Adjust as necessary to pH 3.8 ± 0.2. 
  • johnb

    Member
    April 15, 2017 at 9:37 am

    it’s an exfoliating moisturizer, many use them as facial moisturizers to
    get smoother skin and get the benefits of AHA’s (stimulated collagen
    and ceramide synthesis).

    The problem I always consider with multipurpose compositions such as you are advocating here is that the job they do is frequently inferior to the job that can be done by two separate products.

  • Zink

    Member
    April 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    In this case the sum of the parts > the parts alone judging from my own experience (it’s better to have both in one to treat backne), from dermatologists recommending the product (AHA’s alone or in gels are not very suitable for consumer use) and from customer reviews.

    The thing is, AHA’s don’t need low pH to affect ceramide and collagen synthesis, so you don’t want or need the product to be an extreme exfoliant like you’d get with pure AHA.For the avg consumer daily use scenario it’s an extremely useful combination. It could also serve as a base for acid stable actives.

  • Zink

    Member
    April 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks @zwapp for the formula and detailed rundown!

    Yes, aware of active acid level. But I doubt there is any significant difference in skin effects due to pH difference of e.g. 3.5 to 4 with regards to “cohesion of stratum corneum, enhanced epidermal barrier, antimicrobial defense, proteinases-regulating desquamation for optimal cell turnover unassisted by acid exfoliants” if you have any studies that suggest otherwise please share, I think a lot of these effects might be conferred by the AHA molecules in the skin in a not-so pH dependent way.

    My question re: alkyl benzoate is how it compares to other similar emollients and why it seems to be the preferred choice in this type of formula. Do you have any take on that?

    Also, why is MAP so prevalent in these?

    Good tip re: GDL, FYI Scleroitum Gum works well in low pH formulas, but can be a bit slimy feeling.

    What alternative PEG free emulsification systems would ya’ll recommend?

  • Microformulation

    Member
    April 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I am sure you didn’t mean MAP (the accepted abbreviation for Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) as MAP is formulated at a higher ph (>6) due to discoloration.

    Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (Veegum line from RT Vanderbilt) has commonly been used in these Formulations because it is quite stable in the pH’s that these products are made and when used properly it actually has some wonderful properties in regard to skin feel, It is for this same reason (pH stability) that you see Veegum also used in the highly alkaline Sodium silicate under eye anti-aging product.

    C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is also used since it is reasonably priced, ubiquitous (hence easy to obtain), solubilizes many other materials and has great skin effect. While not impossible, you will find that in regard to solubilizing, many other emollients may not be as attractive and may be more expensive. In my experience with these products, the raw material costs can build quickly and you will need the cost saving benefits.

    Lastly, if you are looking to best marry the exfoliating and the moisturizing abilities of the AHA’s, a spread of different AHA’s is effective. As you move from Glycolic to Lactic to Malic (several others in between), you may see better overall effect.

  • Zink

    Member
    April 18, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Thanks Mark!

    Yes, I meant.. “MAS”, so they’ll give a kind of cooling light clay mask feel? Perhaps with some desired pH increase. I’m familiar and have used it in a liquid clay mask formula. Are there any good alu free alternatives when it comes to skin feel? 

    C12-15: Is there anything in particular in the formulas above that needs solubilizing though? I don’t see it as often in non AHA moisturizers.

    Do you have any studies on combinations of AHAs showing synergistic effects? Would be really interested to check those out :)

  • Zink

    Member
    April 21, 2017 at 5:51 am

    somewhere I learned that going from mildly acid (pH ~ 6.0) to more acidic {pH | 3.0 <= pH <= 4.5} does indeed result in those benefits over time.

    Sounds about right, the popular AHA lotions are pH 4 - 4.4.

    I second what @Microformulation says.  C12-15 alkyl benzoate isn’t only for solubilizing stuff, though it’s good for that.  It confers a glide like no other ester.  It reduces greasy skin feel in high-fat emulsions.  I use it in some silicone-free formulations to reduce soaping effect.  It’s used in sunscreens a lot (but personally I would never make sunscreens because I don’t want to pay for testing or get into anything that’s a regulated drug).  It adds to the mildness of products.  It provides modest occlusion.  In my limited hobbyist world, I find C12-15 alkyl benzoate very versatile.

    Interesting, I’m working on a sunscreen, I’ve used cyclomethicone for increased slip and otherwise primarily cap

  • Zink

    Member
    April 21, 2017 at 5:54 am

    somewhere I learned that going from mildly acid (pH ~ 6.0) to more acidic {pH | 3.0 <= pH <= 4.5} does indeed result in those benefits over time.

    Sounds about right, the popular AHA lotions are pH 4 - 4.4.

    I second what @Microformulation says.  C12-15 alkyl benzoate isn’t only for solubilizing stuff, though it’s good for that.  It confers a glide like no other ester.  It reduces greasy skin feel in high-fat emulsions.  I use it in some silicone-free formulations to reduce soaping effect.  It’s used in sunscreens a lot (but personally I would never make sunscreens because I don’t want to pay for testing or get into anything that’s a regulated drug).  It adds to the mildness of products.  It provides modest occlusion.  In my limited hobbyist world, I find C12-15 alkyl benzoate very versatile.

    Interesting, I’m working on a sunscreen, I’ve used cyclomethicone for increased slip and otherwise primarily caprylic/capric triglycerides as emollients. Would be interesting to see what C12-15 does in comparison to both. Thanks for the paper and the testing tips, Sclerotium Gum has been good to me ;)

    EMULSIFIERS 

    Montanov 68 I’ve used once, was less stable than Olivem 1000 in my sunscreen application, but could be a better choice for an AHA lotion! This is something I’m curious about, which emulsifier has better TEWL reduction properties? My instinct would say Monatov 68 as Olivem retains oleic acid chains and we know oleic acid increases TEWL https://www.google.com/patents/EP2237765B1?cl=en

    I’m not very worried about PEGs, but if you can find better non PEG options that makes the choice easy, I luckily don’t have to worry about pinching pennies at the moment and can choose rather freely, although It’d be nice to avoid 25 kg MOQs.

    Other emulsifiers I have considered testing

    Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate (and) Jojoba Esters (and) Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax (and) Cetyl Alcohol
    Potassium Cetyl Phosphate
    Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate (and) Sucrose Stearate (custom mix)
    BTMS from lotioncrafter, because people LOVE the skin feel. Not sure about pH compatibility haven’t even tried.

  • Zink

    Member
    April 26, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    @zwapp not considering all of the ones I listed together, but separately! I prefer to keep formulas as simple as possible.

    Emulium Mellifera  is used in a lot of Asian sunscreens? Good to know, only issue it that it’s only available in large quantities. I have a sample here, might try it!

    Thanks for the Arlacel 2121 tip. I’m going with silane coated ZnO and possibly Butyloctyl Salicylate re sunscreen. Hard to turn into a superfluid, but you can get close enough as long as you don’t need vhigh SPF.

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