Medicines and food have a common origin. This ancient proverb is, in one form or another, core to the medical folklore of almost all cultures around the globe. Modern science, however, is only now beginning to provide solid scientific evidence for this very concept. There is ample evidence that certain vitamins, and particularly their antioxidant activities, can help prevent or delay the onset of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. However, a host of nonnutritive components of plant foods, especially polyphenols and phytoestrogens have come to be recognized as “chemopreventers;” ie, naturally appearing chemical components with the strong capacity to prevent certain diseases.
In recent years, natural products have grown from a niche segment in personal care to one of the fastest-growing categories. In fact, natural personal care (NPC) has outperformed other natural product segments such as functional foods and supplements. Growth of NPC will continue parallel to the nutraceutical market, as the consumers seek natural products offering more value for the money.
Although strenuous attempts are being made to replace petroleum-based products with natural ones, the substitution is far from complete, owing to the lack of in-depth knowledge of the raw materials as well as product formulations and stability. Application of natural oils and fats has been severely restricted due to oxidative degradation of lipids, resulting in malodors, color changes, increase in viscosity and changes in specific gravity, solubility and appearance. We recently described the technology of development of a unique means of stabilization of exotic butters and natural oils, thus avoiding any cumbersome application of antioxidants and avoiding heating, homogenization, extra labor and handling of additional powders.
While using natural oils and butters, one can use the properties of either triacylglycerol constituents or nontriacylglycerol components (chemopreventers) or both as per the specific requirements of the product formulation in question. This article details the art of engineering organic lipid products using both these characteristics.
The triacylglycerol constituents of fats and oils generally co-exist with non-triacylglycerol components, and are represented primarily by unsaponifiable matter.
The unsaponifiable matter of fats and oils generally constitutes a variety of active ingredients that could stabilize them against deteriorative processes, although some might pose specific problems. The nontriacylglycerol constituents belong primarily to the tocopherol/tocotrienol/phenolics and flavonoids, sterols, phospholipids, carotenoids and triterpenyl alcohols as well as phytic acid family of compounds. Each oil may contain several classes of these substances, and they may have a pronounced effect on the stability of products and their nutritional properties.
Processing Minor Constituents
Each processing step in the degumming, refining, bleaching, and deodorization of edible oils is designed to perform a specific function to remove certain minor components from the sample. However, removal of compounds perceived as having deleterious effects should be kept at an optimum level so that their potential beneficial health effects are not totally negated by their removal from oils.
It has been reported that changes in the minor constituents occur in vegetable oils during industrial processing. Their data demonstrated a marked decrease in the content of tocopherols during the deodorization process. However, the content of sterols was less affected by heating. The compound plastochromanol-8 was a minor constituent, and its content did not change to any large extent.
Another constituent that might be fully depleted during processing is carotenoid. Bleaching of carotenoids in palm oil is an intentional industrial process used to obtain a colorless product. However, production of red palm oil as a specialty product is now being practiced.
Cold-pressed oils have the advantage over solvent-extracted oils because they retain much more of their valuable ingredients; thus pressed oils are more stable than extracted oils. However, this stability is only possible for oils where pressing is done at low temperatures of less than 50°C so that the natural components do not degrade. In addition, cold extraction demands high-quality seeds that have not oxidated and whose oils contain low levels of free fatty acids.
Organic Lipids for Cosmeceuticals
The oil from the mechanical press contains moisture, waxes and other solid waste such as small fractions of the grain shells which remain suspended in the oil. These are removed by filtration through cotton cloth and subsequent decanting into vats which eliminates the waxes. A second filtration is done using filter paper to remove traces of moisture and wax.
The oil obtained has a high peroxide value and free fatty acid content. Instead of conventional neutralization with alkali, the oil is deodorized using steam under high vacuum (around 2-5 mbar) at temperatures varying between 150-210°C. Under such conditions, both the free fatty acid content and the peroxide value drop considerably to required percentages. Thus, the oil is refined without chemicals.
In some cases, the oil is bleached using naturally active bleaching and clarifying adsorbents which do not contain mineral acid or other chemical compounds. Fractionated products like oleins and stearins are used for various product formulations. Such physical fractionations are done by cooling the parent oils at suitable temperature without any solvents such as acetone or hexane. The oleins and stearins thus obtained, retain their organic label and can be used for designing organic formulations.
By using the natural power of fractionation we have engineered a range of raw materials with very high concentration of bioactives and retained these in further processing. Thus, the resultant oil is the cleanest and most bioactives-rich organic ingredient to be used in formulations.
Furthermore, we have developed an Internal Stabilization technology, which makes all vegetable oils and butters highly resistant to oxidation and general degradation. This methodology, stabilizes the oils and butters internally, extending the lifecycle of the products manifold and enhancing the shelf life of cosmetics (Figure 1 and Figure 2).
At International Cosmetics Science Centre (ICSC), Denmark, we have very recently developed a range of rejuvenated organic ingredients with moderately high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) values. They do not cause true allergy (contact dermatitis) as many synthetic compounds, nor the more common photosensitive irritation.
The Rejuvenated Biolipid Series has an exceptional natural SPF, contains natural antioxidants and render the lipids more stable than engineered lipids in the conventional recipe, is antimicrobial and has healing properties.
The four rejuvenated bio organic products for cosmetic formulations are:
- Rejuvenated Biolipid SPF: Sun-protective creams, anti-wrinkle creams, body lotions, bath foams, baby care products and massage creams. This product provides high natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor), antimicrobial properties, antioxidant properties and healing effects.
- Rejuvenated Biolipid 100: Emollient for skin-care applications, a rejuvenated replacement of conventional shea butter in anti-wrinkle creams, body lotions, bath foams, baby care, sun care products and massage creams.
- Rejuvenated Biolipid Danomega-3: Effective in adding nourishment to the skin especially in creams, lotions, anti-wrinkle creams, baby care products and massage creams and specifically anti-inflammatory cosmetic products.
- Rejuvenated Biolip Lipids: Specifically, for production of lipsticks.
Amla (Emblica officinalis) is known, from ancient times in India, for its medicinal and therapeutic potential. Sushrutu, the father of ancient medicine “Ayurveda,” mentioned its therapeutic potential as long ago as 1500 BC. Amla promotes healthier hair, maintains youthful hair color, retards premature graying and supports the strength of the hair follicles, so there is less thinning with age. Its hair-promoting properties are attributed to its high content of tannins (20%). When blended with rosemary, it stimulates hair growth. We have successfully combined these properties to design organic exotic butters such as mango and shea as ingredients for hair care formulas.
Natural Organic Preservatives
Organic Danox preservatives are natural antioxidants, 100% organic and internally stabilized. Microorganisms cause spoilage of cosmetic ingredients, resulting in a reduction of the quality and quantity of the final product. Some spices and herbs have biologically active substances that inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, thus enhancing the shelf life of a product. Antioxidants help to enhance the shelf life of oils, by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and other processes. These substances protect the oil from exposure to high temperatures, sunlight and other conditions that damage it.
The use of plant-based natural antioxidants is becoming more and more common in the cosmetic industry, since these substances are believed to possess anti-carcinogenic potential and other health-promoting effects, including anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial activity.
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products. These compounds prevent the growth of bacteria and molds, but there is a growing interest in paraben-free alternatives. In order to replace these substances, the problem was the availability of a full spectrum product.
Organic Danox preservatives are an oil solution of natural antioxidants with striking antimicrobial properties. They are a synergistic mixture of the extract from best quality dry leaves of organic rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), combined with the organic volatile oil steam-distilled from the best quality dried fruits of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Organic Danox preservatives are produced using our Internal Stabilization (IS) technology, making the final product more resistant to oxidation and degradation, by using rosemary’s natural antioxidant properties.
Due to their excellent antimicrobial properties, the cosmetic products will not require the addition of secondary supplements, leading to more natural and simpler formulations and clean labels. Organic Danox preservatives are used as very strong preservatives, protecting vegetable oils against oxidation and loss of antioxidants. Their powerful antimicrobial properties will also help to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, avoiding spoilage of cosmetic ingredients. Recommended dosage is minimum 5000 ppm (0.5% of the final product).
• Organic Danox Preservative 7000: At recommended level of dosage, the final product will have no characteristic taste, smell, color or odor, generally associated with Rosemary extracts.
• Organic Danox Preservative R-7000: At recommended level of dosage, the final product will have no characteristic taste, smell, color or odor, generally associated with rosemary extracts or fennel oil.
• Organic Danox Preservative 8000: Specifically designed for powder applications, at recommended level of dosage, the final product will have no characteristic taste, smell, color or odor, generally associated with rosemary extracts.
Products based on natural ingredients have always been popular with consumers. Whether functional, isolated chemical, or biologically targeted ones, they are of significant value in beauty care. This article demonstrates the art of producing all-natural active ingredients for skin care and hair care formulations using organic lipids.
These all-natural ingredients will provide new impetus in designing safe, innovative, high-performance, elegant-feeling, and above all, completely natural cosmeceuticals. The beauty of these products is that they provide properties such as antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in one package.
Prof. Dr. Vijai K.S. Shukla is the president and founder of International Cosmetics Science Centre A/S (www.icsc.dk). He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org