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Lecithins

Lecithins are mixtures of several polar lipids and their accompanying substances consisting of neu- O O
tral and nonpolar lipids. Since decades lecithins are used in the food industry, pharmacy, medicine R O CH2 R O CH2
and in cosmetic formulations. Behind this demand is their unique effect and diversity which can O CH O CH
R O CH3 R O
be shown by their biological function and chemical constitution.
O CH2 O P O CH2 CH2 +N CH3 O CH2 O P O CH2 CH2 NH2
O- CH3 O-
Biological function Phosphatidylcholine Phosphatidylethanolamine

Lecithins are a natural component with important functions in living cells of humans, animals and
plants. Our cells are separated into compartments by bio membranes. Their unique composition O O
is needed for the complex processes in each cell. Human membranes mainly consist of membra- R O CH2 R O CH2
ne lipids which form the double layer surface of all cells. These lipids are so called phospholipids R O CH O OH R O CH O
which have one water soluble end formed by a polar head group (phosphate group) and a lipid O O
CH2 O P O CH2 O P O CH2 CH COOH
soluble end formed by a nonpolar tail (fatty acids). Within membranes polar ends point outwards, OH
O- O- NH2
whereas unpolar ends point inwards. In this way they form the fluid mosaic model proposed by OH
Seymour Jonathan Singer und Garth Nicolson (fig 1.) OH OH

Phosphatidylinositol Phosphatidylserine
Carbohydrates

Figure 2: The four most important types of phospholipids consist of a glycerol backbone. Two nonpolar fatty acids (grey) and
polar one polar head group (blue) are attached to this backbone.
heads

nonpolar Phospholipids
tails

polar Cosmetic relevance


heads
Lecithins are natural products and thus, bio-degradable and toxicologically harmless. These cha-
Proteins racteristics combined with their numerous positive effects make them the ultimate choice for
Figure 1: Schematically layout of a bio membrane. Integral proteins penetrate or span the phospholipid bilayer and carbo-
modern cosmetic applications and open a broad range of opportunities.
hydrates are bound to the surface.
Caused by their amphiphilic structure they tend to form lamellar structures in an aqueous environ-
The flexibility of a membrane is based on phospholipids. Besides phospholipids membranes also ment, which are influenced by temperature as well as water and the phospholipid concentration.
consist of integral and peripheral proteins as well as carbohydrates. The individual ratio of these Lecithins are natural, skin analog (Co-)emulsifiers, which avoid a separation of water and lipid phases
components influences the flexibility and biological activity of a membrane. All of them are es- in formulations. Therefore, they increase the stability of water in oil or oil in water emulsions. In
sential for cell metabolism. contrast to typical respectively synthetic emulsifiers lecithins have no defined HLB-value (hydro-
philic-lipophilic balance) because their composition as natural product varies. With the help of
modern processes we are still able to influence their composition and thus, to group them in HLB
Chemical composition ranges. This allows you to specifically select one lecithin or to combine two of them in order to get
a defined HLB value similar to the usage of typical emulsifiers.
The best way to understand the diversity of lecithins is the knowledge of their chemical composi-
tion. Phospholipids are the value-determining component of lecithins, whereas the accompanying
substances (triglycerides, fatty acids, sterols and glycolipids) are less important. The group of phos-
pholipids mainly consists of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine and
phosphatidylinositole.

All of them are composed of a polar head group and two nonpolar fatty acids esterified at the carbon
atoms one and two. The backbone is formed by glycerol. This so called amphiphilic structure (polar
and nonpolar part within one molecule) causes a higher polarity by contrast to the accompanying
substances. Therefore, phospholipids are also called acetone-insolubles because the accompanying
substances are soluble in the relatively nonpolar solvent acetone, whereas phospholipids are not.

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Furthermore, phospholipids have a positive effect on the moisture balance of skin and hair by
forming a protective layer which is still present after washing. In this way they protect the natural
W/O W/O or O/W O/W fat layer. By contrast to silicones lecithins do not cover the hair with a plastic foil which is long-
HLB
term harmful. Hair consists of three layers: cuticula, cortex and medulla. The cortex is the main
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
component of hair and consists of keratins (scaffold protein). Environmental influences, heat and
chemicals damage the amino acids of keratins, resulting in a curvature of the outer layer (cuticula).
Cosphaderm Cosphaderm Cosphaderm Thus, the state of the cuticula indicates the health of hair. Phospholipids are able to attach to
SF-S SF-D SF-75 keratins between the cuticula, neutralize them and form a natural, antistatic and conditioning
SF-50 SF-90 protective layer. The combability increases and the silky gloss is restored. Furthermore, the affinity
SF-75H of lecithins to the skin surface can be used to increase the adhesion of pigments from lip sticks and
SF-90H make-ups to the skin. Additionally tocopherols as a part of lecithins show an antioxidative effect.
E NGM
E NGM 50
E 100 E IP Split and Healthy and
dry hair shiny hair
Figure 3: Rough classification of the lecithins based on their HLB range.

Lecithins are characterized by their high skin tolerance which is typical for a natural part of the
membrane. Additional characteristics are their ability to form structures similar to cell membra-
nes and to the lipid layer of the Stratum corneum (top layer of the epidermis) and their affinity to
natural skin lipids. They improve the skin smoothness and litheness. The choline group of phos-
pholipids is effective against cornification disorders. In biochemical terms, phosphatidylcholine
intervenes in the ceramide metabolism by transferring its phosphocholine group to the ceramides.
In this way the living epidermis can be restored, whereas phosphatidylcholine converts to a dia-
glycerole.

Ceramides Sphingomyelins Figure 5: Effects of lecithins to hair


(corneal layer) (living epidermis)

O
R O CH2
Phosphatidylcholin-enriched (fractionated) leci-
R O CH O CH3 thins are of high interest because of their ten-
dency to form liposomes. Liposomes are sphe-
O CH2 O P O CH2 CH2 +N CH3 Phosphocholine group
rical vesicles composed of lamellar phase lipid
O- CH3 bilayers which are able to encapsulate cosmetic
actives. These encapsulated actives are relea-
sed consistently to the skin. Thus, they are very
compatible with conventional systems and can
be applied in lower dosages in comparison to Figure 6: Liposomes that have encapsulated actives are able
Phosphatidylcholine Diaglycerine conventional systems. Experiments showed that to merge with the membrane. In this way actives can be better,
deeper and consistently transported into the skin.
for this purpose a phosphatidylcholine amount
of 70-75 % is best suitable. Also empty liposomes are highly efficient because of their increased
Figure 4: The ceramide metabolism describes the cornification of cells caused by ceramide formation. This process is reversible content of linoleic acid. Linoeic acid shows a strong efficiency against skin impurities and light acne
by transferring the phosphocholine group to the ceramide.
which is based on their important role by the production of ceramide 1. The lipid ceramide 1 highly
influences the formation of the barrier function.

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Cosphaderm Lecithin types
We offer a broad range of lecithins to cover the whole spectrum for cosmetic applications. All of
our lecithins are NON GMO. They are derived from soy bean or sunflower. The big advantage of
sunflower lecithins is their lower allergenic potential and that a GMO discussion is unnecessary.

Standard lecithins (Cosphaderm SF-S) consist of the value-determining phospholipids (ace-


tone-insolubles) and their accompanied substances. They have a characteristic odor and a typical
brown color.

Deoiled lecithins (Cosphaderm SF-D) mainly consist of the value-determining phospholipids


(acetone-insolubles) because nearly all of the accompanied substances get removed. This process
also goes along with a decrease of the odor and color. Furthermore, the water solubility increases.

Lysolecithins (Cosphaderm E NGM; E NGM 50; E 100 E IP) are characterized by a high water
solubility. They are best suited for cosmetic formulations with high water content. The water solu-
bility increases by an enzymatic treatment with phospholipase. The phospholipase separates one
of the fatty acids. The nonpolar part decreases whereas the polar increases. Once 50 % is reached
the emulsifying properties cannot rise further.

Fractionated lecithins (Cosphaderm SF-50; SF-70; SF-90) are the royal class of lecithins. In a
first step they are de-oiled to increase the value determining content (phospholipids) and in a se-
cond step the phosphatidylcholin is being enriched because it is known as particularly revitalizing
and best suited to form liposomes. Fractionation with ethanol increases the amount of phos-
phatidylcholine. Depending on the number of fractionating steps different phosphatidylcholine-
enriched lecithins can be produced.

Fractionated and hydrogenated lecithins (Cosphaderm SF-75H; SF-90H) are similar to the
fractionated lecithins but additionally they get hydrogenated. In this step the unsaturated fatty
acids of the phospholipids get saturated. Resulting products are characterized by high temperature
stability and by contrast to the non-hydrated they can be stored at room temperature. As a last
step they are carefully bleached leading to a white powder of lecithins which are best suited for
brilliant white formulations.

Listed below are the most important characteristics of our lecithins.

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Cosphaderm Cosphaderm
Product E NGM E NGM 50 E 100 E IP Product SF-S SF-D SF-50 SF-75 SF-75H SF-90 SF-90H

Fractionated Fractionated
Lecithin type Lyso Lyso Lyso Lecithin type Standard De-oiled Fractionated Fractionated and Fractionated and
hydrogenated hydrogenated

Origin Soy bean Soy bean Soy bean Origin Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower

Consistency liquid liquid powdery Consistency liquid powdery waxy waxy powdery waxy powdery

Color tan to amber tan to amber yellowish to beige Color dark brown brownish yellowish to yellowish to white - yellowish to white -
brownish brownish yellowish brownish yellowish

Odor typical typical typical Odor typical weak weak weak odorless weak odorless

Aceton-insoluble min 56 % min 56 % min 95 % Aceton- min 60 % min 95 % - - - - -


(polar lipid content) insoluble
(polar lipid
content)
10 % 10 % 12 %
PC amount
PC amount 12-18 % 20-27 % min 45 % min 70 % min 70% min 90 % min 90 %
Lyso content 25 % 50 % 30 %
Lyso content - - max 6 % max 6 % max 6 % max 5 % max 5 %
Emulsifier yes yes yes
Emulsifier yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Skin care yes yes yes
Skin care yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Hair care yes yes yes
Hair care yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Foam stabilizer yes yes yes
Foam stabi- no no no no no no no
Antioxidant no no no lizer

Antioxidant yes yes yes yes yes


Liposome formation no no no
Liposome no no yes yes yes yes yes
Consistency builder low low low formation

Consistency low low low low strong low strong


HLB-value 9-12 10-12 10-12 builder

HLB-value 4-6 6-8 7-9 9-12 9-12 10-12 10-12


Rec. conc. 1-6 % 1-6 % 1-6 %
Rec. conc. 0.5-12.0 % 1-10 % 0.5-6.0 % 0.5-6.0 % 0.5-6.0 % 0.5-6.0 % 0.5-6.0 %

Table 1: Characteristics and composition of Cosphaderm soy lecithins


Table 2: Characteristics and composition of Cosphaderm sunflower lecithins

The content was created with great care. For the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the content we accept no liability.

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Application hints
The composition of the individual lecithins differs. Thus, small deviations in the application process Cosphaderm SF-50, SF-75 and SF-90 (fractionated lecithins) are used in concentrations of
are required. To simplify the usage of our lecithins please follow our application hints. approx. 0.5-3.0 %. If particularly high skin-smoothening properties are required, it should be used
in concentrations of up to 6 %. It is suited for water-based formulations, is water dispersible and
Cosphaderm SF-S (standard lecithin) is used in concentrations of 5-20 %, as a co-emulsifier tends to form W/O emulsions. It is suitable for hot (max 60 C) and cold emulsifications. You can
0.5-3 % are enough. It is water dispersible. Rich formulations (for example baby cosmetic) that apply it to the aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. Avoid unne-
consists of a aqueous phase <50 % result in W/O emulsions. If the water phase is >65 %, O/W cessary long heat terms. Solubilizers like ethanol or diols (Cosphaderm Propanediol natural or
emulsions are formed. Cosphaderm SF-S is suitable for hot (max 70 C) and cold emulsification. Pentiol natural) facilitate the application. Fractionated lecithins are best suited as penetration
You can apply it to the aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. It is enhancer because they tend to form liposomes. To obtain concentrated suspension of liposomes
a weak consistency builder. The final viscosity is formed after 1-2 days. Depending on the target loaded with actives, add in a first step a concentrated solution/suspension of active ingredients in
consistency often an additional thickener is needed. demineralized water. Simultaneously prepare the pre-solution of liposomes consisting of aqueous
ethanol and/or glycerin and phospholipids. In a second step add the active pre-solution to the pro-
Cosphaderm SF-D (de-oiled lecithin) is used in concentrations of 3-5 %. For shampoos and con- liposome solution. The ratio of the amount of proliposome solution to the aqueous active solution
ditioners we suggest using 1-2 %, for bath bombs 5-10 %. It is water dispersible and tends to form must be kept by 1:1 or maximum 1:2. In a third step gradually dilute the obtained concentrate to
W/O and mixed emulsions. Cosphaderm SF-D is suitable for hot (max 70 C) and cold emulsifi- the final volume with demineralized water or aqueous solution (ratio 2:8 or 3:7 respectively). If you
cation. You can apply it to the aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. use fractionated non hydrogenated lecithin, the operation temperature will be room temperature.
If you mix it with water in a ratio of 1:1 and let it soak at room temperature for 20 min, processing
will be easier. It is a weak consistency builder. The final viscosity is formed after 1-2 days. Depen- Cosphaderm SF-75H and SF-90H (fractionated und hydrogenated lecithins) are used in concen-
ding on the desired consistency an additional thickener may be needed. A pH-value of 5-6 for the trations of approx. 0.5-3.0 %. If particularly high skin-smoothing properties are required, it should
finished formulation is advisable. be used in concentrations up to 6 %. It is suited for water-based formulations, is water dispersible
and tends to form W/O emulsions. It is suitable for hot (max 70 C) and cold emulsifications.
Cosphaderm E NGM (lysolecithin with a lyso content of approx. 25 %) is used in concentrations You can apply it to the aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. Long
of approx. 1-6 %. The higher the concentration the higher are the skin-smoothing properties. Ly- heat terms are possible because the lecithins are hydrogenated. Solubilizers like ethanol or diols
solecithin has a high water affinity. It can be used for O/W and W/O emulsions depending on the (Cosphaderm Propanediol natural or Pentiol natural) facilitate the application. Alternatively let it
amount of the lipid phase (18-70 %). However, the best concentration amount of the fat phase is soak in the whole aqueous phase for 20 min. at 70 C. Soaking increases the consistency-forming
20-45 %. It is suitable for hot (70 C) and cold emulsifications. You can apply it to the aqueous and properties. Fractionated lecithins are best suited as penetration enhancer because they tend to
lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. It is a weak consistency builder. The final form liposomes. To obtain concentrated suspension of liposomes loaded with actives, add in a first
viscosity is formed after 1-2 days. Depending on the desired consistency an additional thickener step a concentrated solution/suspension of active ingredients in demineralized water. Simultane-
may be needed. ously prepare the pre-solution of liposomes at 65 C consisting of aqueous ethanol and/or glycerin
and phospholipids. In a second step add the active pre-solution to the proliposome solution at 65
Cosphaderm E NGM 50 (lysolecithin with a lyso content of approx. 50 %) is used in concentra- C. The ratio of the amount of proliposome solution to the aqueous active solution must be kept by
tions of approx. 1-6 %. The higher the concentration the higher are the skin-smoothing properties. 1:1 or maximum 1:2. In a third step gradually dilute the obtained concentrate to the final volume
Lysolecithin has a high water affinity. It can be used for O/W emulsions and is suitable for hot (70 C) with demineralized water or aqueous solution (ratio 2:8 or 3:7 respectively) at room temperature.
and cold emulsifications. You can apply it to the aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the
finished formulation. It is a weak consistency builder. The final viscosity is formed after 1-2 days.
Depending on the desired consistency an additional thickener may be needed.

Cosphaderm E 100 E IP (de-oiled lysolecithin with a lyso content of approx. 25 %) is used in


concentrations of 1-6 %. The higher the concentration the higher are the skin-smoothing proper-
ties. Lysolecithin has a high water affinity. It can be used for O/W and W/O emulsions depending
on the amount of the fat phase (18-70 %). However, the best concentration amount of the lipid
phase is 20-45 %. It is suitable for hot (70 C) and cold emulsifications. You can apply it to the
aqueous and lipid phase or additionally to the finished formulation. It is a weak consistency builder.
The final viscosity is formed after 1-2 days. Depending on the desired consistency an additional
thickener may be needed. In comparison to Cosphaderm ENGM it can be used to achieve a lighter
color of the final formulation.

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2015

Cosphatec GmbH | Drehbahn 7 | 20354 Hamburg


Tel. +49 40 3501669-0 | Fax +49 40 3501669-10
info@cosphatec.com | www.cosphatec.com