With Polysorbate 20 you can expect a synthetic food additive that also plays a central role in the field of cosmetics. As an emulsifier, the ingredient allows oil and water to mix well and quickly to naturally soothe the skin. Polysorbate 20 is therefore a good raw material for creams, shampoos and other cosmetic products. It makes it easy to create foam and effectively cleanse the body.
This is how polysorbate 20 is used thanks to its structure
Compared to other ingredients in cosmetics, polysorbate 20 is a very strong emulsifier. Neither the temperature nor the pH value of the liquid play a decisive role in the effect of the ingredient. The surfactant is often used to maintain the structure of foam and to preserve fats in its form despite other substances.
This makes the product an important component for food as well as for cosmetics and cleaning products. With Polysorbate 20 you can expect a detergent substance that is suitable for cleaning teeth, hair and skin and is therefore present in many products. As a surfactant, the ingredient ensures that even two fundamentally immiscible components become miscible in a solution. This applies, for example, to oil and water as cosmetics.
A good contribution to accompany food
Polysorbate 20 is found in significantly more foods than you might initially think. The food additive is often hidden, especially in baking fat, ice cream, cookies and desserts. For most foods, however, the ingredients are defined very precisely, which also significantly reduces the proportion of polysorbate 20 as an accompanying ingredient. This also means that the components cannot be used for every type of food. In addition to its use in the food industry, the agent is also found in animal feed, medication and cosmetics.
A good choice not just in the food sector
Thanks to its calming and cleansing effect, polysorbate 20 can be used for any cosmetic product. The ingredient itself is obtained through chemical synthesis from fatty acids and sorbitol. The fatty acids or sorbitol are first esterified with a little lauric acid. This is immediately followed by the treatment of the chemical compound with ethylene oxide. It doesn't matter whether animal or vegetable fatty acids are used.
Polysorbate 20 is completely harmless in the quantities used, both as an ingredient in food and in cosmetics. Thanks to the ADI value of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight, you don't have to worry about absorbing the surfactants. Only if consumed too frequently is there a risk of absorbing fat-soluble pollutants and reducing digestion.
The permanently stable emulsion of oil and water
By simply combining substances such as oil and water, polysorbate 20 becomes a popular choice for cosmetic products. This is simply because dirt from the skin can be completely removed by the water in this way. While the surfactant does not generally have the best skin-friendly properties, it does dissolve dirt and impurities very thoroughly. For this reason, polysorbate 20 is not the sole solution for cosmetic products, but can only be used as an integral component.
Does the ingredient polysorbate 20 have any health risks?
If the application remains in the recommended amount, nothing stands in the way of health-friendly and safe use. As a component of cosmetics, polysorbate 20 makes it easy to ensure an optimized moisture balance and relieve your skin. The ingredient ensures faster foam formation, increases the positive feeling on the skin and is in many cases responsible for cleanliness. It is not without reason that it is often used for cosmetics.
Thanks to its many positive properties, you don't have to worry about polysorbate 20 as an ingredient in cosmetics. However, since it is a synthetic emulsifier, it is not contained in natural cosmetics. If you are specifically looking for practical surfactants with a natural structure, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate will be a better choice. We also have a separate article on this that will provide you with comprehensive information. In terms of results, there are no significant differences with polysorbate 20 if you swap the additives in the respective product.
The best help as a surfactant in the field of cosmetics
In order to combine immiscible components such as oil and water, the ingredient polysorbate 20 is the best choice. This promotes the creation of a consistently stable emulsion, which means that the composition is retained in the respective bottle. So it's worth relying on surfactants like polysorbate 20 when working on new cosmetics. Please also take a look at the other ingredients and surfactants from our glossary here.