The use of rhamnolipids in cosmetics will become widespread as consumers look for natural “green” products. The rhamnolipids will emulsify the other ingredients, forming them into a uniform mixture and spreading them evenly. For skin products, rhamnolipids will make minimize the appearance of wrinkles, in some cases make small wrinkles seem to disappear. The rhamnolipids will make the skin feel more moist and smooth.
The cosmetic industry uses a large amount of surfactants, including them in almost every product produced. The wide range of products containing surfactants includes antidandruff products, skin creams, hair color, shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste, mascara, nail polish, lipstick, antiperspirants, baby products, shaving creams, moisturizers, soaps, lubricators, eye shadow, wipes, sun creams, deodorants, bubble baths, shaving foams, insect repellents, tanning agents, and fragrances.
There is an ever-increasing focus on product safety, “green”, and natural in purchasing decisions for these products as consumers become aware of the harmful effects of the harsh chemicals traditionally used.
Natural Replacement for SLS and SLES
Rhamnolipids are natural surfactants and emulsifiers that will replace petrochemical based surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS, sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS or NaDS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) in skin crèmes, shampoos, soaps, and most of the cosmetic products listed above.
Although regulatory agencies have disproved the accusation that SLES is a carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane is a carcinogen. 1.4-dioxane is a byproduct of SLES production and usually has not been completely removed from SLES prior to use in products. SLS has been proven to be a skin irritant in higher concentrations.
Although SLS was traditionally manufactured from coconut or palm kernel oil, some SLS is manufactured with petroleum and delivered with petroleum byproducts.
Cosmetic Surfactant Uses
There are multiple uses for surfactants in cosmetic applications. Surfactants can emulsify immiscible ingredients. They can spread the material through dispersion and wetting. They can help retain moisture. They can lubricate. They can produce foam and they can act as a detergent for cleaning. They keep the mixtures stable and control the viscosity of the product. The surfactants also emulsify the oils in the pores reducing the occurrence of acne
Rhamnolipids are produced in a number of similar compounds with slightly different attributes. Rhamnolipids can be formulated to provide the desirable properties for the application. For foaming behavior, rhamnolipids can be formulated to produce bumbles that coalesce into large temporary bubbles or make a tight, long lasting foam with small bubbles. Rhamnolipids can be formulated to increase moisture retention or to lubricate skin. Rhamnolipids can be formulated to control the viscosity of the product.
Rhamnolipids Natural and “Green”
Rhamnolipids are natural products of bacteria that are present in almost all environments. Our production methods are both natural and “green”. Rhamnolipids will not impact the environment as they are naturally present and biodegrade naturally into rhamnose and fatty acids, which are some of the building blocks of life.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified rhamnolipids to be used on food products. Rhamnolipids are being included in the International Nomenclature Cosmetic of Ingredients [INCI].