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Journal of cosmetic science

Solubilization of sodium cocoyl isethionate.


PMID 14730372

Abstract

Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) has been a predominant ingredient in syndet bar formulation for more than thirty years. Although cost effective and well recognized for good skin compatibility, SCI is not regularly found in liquid detergent systems due to its limited solubility in water. This study focuses on the understanding of enthalpy of solubilization, equilibrium of solubilization, and the structures and properties of sodium cocoyl isethionate and various surfactants. The purpose of this exercise is to help the formulator to find appropriate surfactant systems to keep sodium cocoyl isethionate in aqueous solution. The solubility of SCI in water is unfavorable in terms of enthalpy of solvation. When setting up equilibrium of solubilization, there are three possible phases, and three methods have been developed to prevent SCI from recrystallizing in aqueous solutions. The first focuses on tying CI ions within micelles made of secondary surfactants. The second focuses on the exchange of sodium ions with ammonium ions (and/or triethanolammonium). The third centers on emulsification of SCI and the subsequent change of micelles into emulsified oil drops. A combination of two or three of these methods will enable the formulator to use SCI as the primary surfactant in liquid detersive systems.

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