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  • Multi-lamellar emulsion

    Posted by olga on July 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Hi! I have a quastion about Multi-lamellar emulsion from a user point of view, and just from a plain curiosity in chemistry!
    I am very greatful for the answer beforehand! 
    So, what is the Multi-lamellar emulsion (MLE)? How is it differ from oil-in-water emulsion and how one could say from the ingridient list that it is the MLE? Is it really Something from chemist point of view or is it more marketing thing? Or is it a state of art emulsion type that every brand use novadays?
    Does it differ from “lamellar gel networks” that I found in discussions on this forum (and may be only here)?
    I am onestly researched this topic, but did not found the answers (only some texts without any logical explanation or references, in some beauty blogs).

    Herbnerd replied 1 year, 10 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Pharma

    July 26, 2022 at 6:32 pm
    It’s a term invented and patented by Neopharm (CLICK). The science behind it isn’t new; it’s actually as old as emulsions, we just weren’t aware of the particular strucute and thought of emulsions as droplets floating in a continuous phase. Lamellar this and that is just very hyped at the moment but such structures were already present in cosmetics sold a hundred years ago, even mayonnaise contains them. The invention refers to multilamellar vesicles (a type of liposome). However, without freeze-fracture TEM they can’t really know wether or not they have what they claim. The composition of the lamellar structure is only ‘new’ due to a pseudo-ceramide they use instead of, say, traditional lecithin. Lamellar gel networks are non-specified lamellar structures which may or may not form single or multilamellar vesicles and even sheets around emulsified oil droplets or just ‘float throughout the water phase’.
    By reading a LOI you can actually guess with high accuracy (one only knows with a polarised light microscope and/or freeze-fracture TEM) if a product contains lamellar structures and which typ of it. Some ingredients, depending on manufacturing process, may fairly easily form multilamellar structures (such as lecithin). Again depending on the manufacturing process, such multilamellar structures may be a type of vesicle… this however isn’t visible in the LOI, you could just guess that a product which contains certain ingredients (lecithin or the alike, sterols, and fatty acids or similar -> note the AND) could, if properly formulated, contain multilamellar vesicles. Production of these is not very production friendly due to high costs and labour and it might be easier for a company to buy a multilamellar pre-mix and add that to their product so their marketing department can exploit the hype.
  • Herbnerd

    July 27, 2022 at 2:11 am

    @Pharma The way I understand your post is that multilamellar emulsion is similar to the structure of the cell?  As in bi-layer structure (hydrophilic head/hydrophobic tail  layered so the hydrophilic head is both inside the vesicle and outside such as that of a mamallian cell)?

    Would that be a fair assessment or am I totally on the wrong track here?

  • Pharma

    July 27, 2022 at 11:10 am
    With a standard vesicle, you’d be right. A multilamellar one is composed of several concentric ‘cell membrane like’ structures, like an onion.
    However, the similarity ends there and is heavily exploited by cosmetic marketing. Only because the arrangement and (sub-)microscopic features look similar doesn’t mean they are. Hair conditioner and traditional soap also form lamellar structures (in this case, they look more like puff paste or, in marketing terms, similar to stratum corneum lipids LoL)…
  • Herbnerd

    July 27, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    @Pharma - great explanation. Thank you.

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