Multi-functional polymeric technology for skincare
Sponsored content by Lubrizol
In the total skin care retail market, facial skincare accounts for 65 percent, and sun care, 10 percent. Both segments retain high growth at 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, thanks to the strong desire for aesthetic appeal from consumers in modern society; increasing purchasing power, especially in the emerging market; and rising awareness of sun protection and skin aging.
The market is evolving fast with growing competition and consumer sophistication. Time-constrained consumers are seeking enhanced effectiveness and multiple functionalities or benefits from one single product, driven by belief in performance and value for a money mindset.
In order to create a more superior multifunctional product in a highly competitive market, brands are forced to find better solutions for their formulations quickly. Mass brands, in particular, also have the desire to promote their values at a more affordable cost in their multi-functional products.
In this circumstance, formulators are facing a key challenge to pack in more functionalities and benefits without adding formulation complexity, cost, sensory and stability risks. This challenge is particularly obvious in sun care, which has been developing fast.
Besides protection assured by high SPF on the label, consumers also consider other benefits like anti-aging and firming, ease of use, non-sticky texture, water resistance, and light and breathable sensory characteristics. All of these attributes are equally as important as the SPF for a sunscreen. In addition, formulators are still facing the challenge to formulate efficient sun care products with good aesthetics and with high loading of inorganic UV filters and pigments such as TiO2 and ZnO.
Polymer technology has been playing a significant role in the personal care industry. Polymers with different structures are able to thicken, suspend, emulsify, form film, enhance sensory characteristics, and condition skin. The ultimate challenge is to design one single polymer structure to offer all these benefits without adding formulation and process difficulties.
Multifunctional polymeric technology in practice
Recently, a new polymeric technology has been developed to tackle this challenge and offer multiple benefits to skin care products. The polymer is a newly designed polymer from Nonionic Hydrophobically Modified Polyurethane “HEUR” technology called Polyurethane-62, marketed as Avalure™ Flex-6 Polymer, which is an associative polyurethane which forms supramolecular structure in an aqueous environment. It is a new multi-benefit solution allowing formulators to develop robust oil-in-water emulsions with improved compatibility and product efficacy, and a soft powdery skin feel for broad skin care, sun care and color cosmetic applications.
Polyurethane-62 has strong emulsifying capabilities because of the amphiphilic nature of the polymer. When oil is added to an aqueous dispersion of the polymer, the floret-shaped micelles align at the oil-water interface to disperse and sterically stabilize oil droplets. It works as the primary emulsifier for broad range of oils without need to calculate hydrophilic-lipophobic balance (HLB) and consistently creates emulsions with similar stability, droplet size, and viscosity.
This technology can work as the sole emulsifier for high internal phase emulsions (>20 wt% oil), with consistent results, despite the change in internal phase HLB as shown in the below figures.
Polyurethane-62 is able to disperse high loading of pigments at low concentration in a formulation. The polymer disperses both hydrophilic and hydrophobic pigments like treated and untreated zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The dispersions made with the solutions have small pigment aggregate size with uniform aggregate size distribution.
Polyurethane-62 is nonionic and thickens through hydrophobic associations. Therefore, its thickening properties demonstrate consistent performance across pH 3 to 10, and tolerate a high amount of electrolyte (up to 4 wt%) in formulation, as shown in Figure 3.
The material acts as a film former, providing unique and favorable properties such as low gloss, water-resistance, non-sticky texture and excellent skin feel. It has been proven to provide excellent water resistance in sun care formulations with only 1.0wt% polymer by in-vivo SPF as shown in Figure 4.
Polyurethane-62 also offers very good sensory properties. The post-application skin feel has been described as powdery, lubricious, and soft by trained sensory panel and its non-sticky texture is especially pleasant for sun care formulation.
In order to meet all consumer needs, formulation needs can be improved and designed, be it on their existing portfolios or not. With this new technology, the solution can provide emulsion stabilization, pigment dispersion, film formation and rheology modification. On top of that, the material and operational costs are potentially reduced for production.
Note: China CFDA applicant Polyurethane technology (Avalure™ Flex-6 CC Polymer) has been launched in China market, please contact Lubrizol for more information.
- Avalure™ Flex-6 Polymer technical data sheet [PDF]
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