Polysorbate 20 C58H114O26 derives from a chemical reaction between the sugar alcohol Sorbitol and 20 moles of Ethylene Oxide. The number of moles used to treat the Sorbitol will determine the type of Polysorbate which usually comes in different numbers – for example, Polysorbate 20 or Polysorbate 80 among the most popular.
The infamous cosmetic emulsifier Polysorbate 20 blends well water and oils together, or it simply helps essential oils to dissolve in liquids. In fact, many big cosmetic brands use Polysorbate 20 for their trendy lines. No matter the benefits, Polisobrate 20 has sparked a lot of criticism in media and communities recently.
On industrial scales, Polysorbate 20, also known as Tween 20 or Scattics in the cosmetic industry, is used for the development of medications, food, cosmetics, elastic polymers, and biotechnology. For in-home use, most people use the emulsifier to create DIY room sprays and body lotions.
Pros of Polysorbate 20
The emulsifier gives better texture and scent to cosmetic products while prolonging the shelf life of cosmetics, keeping the product fresh longer. Polysorbate 20 is also a solubilizer, surfactant, stabilizer, and lubricant. Except as the glue holding cosmetic ingredients together, the material is a famous additive in food production, too.
Cons of Polysorbate 20
Critics slammed Polysorbate 20 emulsifiers because of the co-existence of the dangerous isomer 1, 4-dioxane, which has been labeled as a dangerous carcinogen. However, most of the studies that found the existence of 1,4-dioxane were conducted with animals. Still, the amount of Polysorbate 20 used in the tests is way above what an actual cosmetic product contains.
Products containing Polysorbate 20
- Shampoos and hair conditioners
- Makeup bases and foundations
- Topical creams
- Skin cleansing products
- Washing agent in biotech tests
- Wetting agent in the elastomer industry
- Ice drops
- Laundry detergent
- Ice cream