Natural emulsifiers

Natural emulsifiers

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Natural emulsifiers or artificial, are substances used for the purpose of keep aqueous and oily phases together which otherwise, alone, would not be intermixable. They are very useful both in the cosmetics and in the food sector, in both we find natural and non-natural emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers: what they are

To understand what they are you need to explain them emulsions, chemically defined as systems in which one liquid is evenly distributed in another liquid, in the form of small droplets. We can therefore distinguish in emulsions, a dispersed phase, usually made up of an oil or a mixture of oils, and a dispersing phase, aqueous.

The emulsifiers they serve to stabilize this coupling that would have no way of existing without this real and proper "uncomfortable" third parties surfactants able to reduce the surface tension of the phase in which they are less soluble, favoring their fragmentation into drops.

To do this it is necessary that they are soluble both in water and in oil, at each emulsifier associates a hydrophilic-lipophilic balance value (HLB, hydrophilic-lipophilic balance) which indicates the ratio between the hydrophilic and lipophilic components of the molecule. Natural emulsifiers with an HLB between 4 and 6 are suitable for obtaining water-in-oil emulsions, those with an HLB between 8 and 18 are used for oil-in-water emulsions.

Emulsifiers in ice cream

One of the occasions when emulsifiers are used in food sector, as additives, is the preparation of ice cream. We find them indicated with acronyms ranging from E400 to E499 in general, but for ice cream the most often used are E471, E432 and E436. For every information:food emulsifiers.

When processing ice cream, during the freezing process, natural emulsifiers are used to give a more homogeneous structure and avoid making it dissolve completely. Something very similar also happens for the smoothies with milk, yogurt and sorbets. In ice cream we also find, indicated with E414, the Arabic gum, also called acacia gum, which is obtained from Acacia Senegal, originally from Sudan.

In addition to ice cream, gum arabic is also found in many puddings, candies, chewing gum and sorbetsHowever, it is better to remember that, although not toxic, in high doses it can give rise to allergic reactions, flatulence and swelling.

Natural emulsifiers

Among natural emulsifiers, the best known is soy lecithin, widely used in the food industry but also in the cosmetics sector where it is particularly appreciated for its emollient and nourishing properties. In creams and gels it makes a valuable contribution to well-being of skin and hair, it is often found in baby products.

Another natural emulsifier used for cosmetics is beeswax, 100% natural, produced in the alveoli of bees, precious for its ability to protect and repair the skin. We find some percentage points in the composition of nourishing creams, ointments, balms, deodorant sticks, lipsticks, glosses, candles, soaps. Much less known, but you can find it by scrolling through the labels of some cosmetics, there is also lamecreme, (inci: Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate), a waxy emulsifier in balls which is used alone or together with co-emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers for creams

Emulsifiers are really indispensable to prepare many cosmetics, primarily body creams and for the face that are emulsions in the strict sense. So are products like cleansing milk and others like it.

Natural emulsifiers for cosmetics

As already seen, the natural emulsifiers for cosmetics, in addition to the main ones - soy lecithin, beeswax and Lamecreme - there are also those produced by the esterification of a fatty acid and a sugar such as Sucrose stearate and Methyl glucose sesquistearate.

However, when the esterification is of a fatty acid and glycerol, the Glyceryl stearate. Unlike soy lecithin, these natural emulsifiers are not readily available at the supermarket and it becomes necessary to look for them in shops specialized in the sale of cosmetic raw materials.

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You may also be interested in:

  • Regulatory food labels and examples
  • Homemade ice cream with and without ice cream maker
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  • Xanthan gum
  • Gum arabic: what is it for

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