- Natural emollient
- Skin identical ingredient
- Increase of skin humidity
- Prevention against barrier disorders
- Skin and hair conditioning treatment
- Support of skin regeneration and renewal
- Natural humectant – helps prevent trans epidermal water loss
This unique ingredient has a real affinity with the skin,widely found in the cell membranes it is safe, natural and really versatile.
What exactly is soya lecithin?
The word Lecithin is Greek is pronounced Lekithos and means egg yolk.
But don’t worry, you’ll be happy to know you won’t end up with egg on your face, if you see this listed on the back of your skin care products.
Traditionally in skin care, the lecithin used is extracted from soy beans, which creates a thick, waxy substance that has a number of interesting properties:
- B vitamins in very small amounts
- Natural phospholipids 60%
- Soy bean oil 30%
The technical Info
Unsaturated phosphatidylcholine is extracted from soy lecithine. It contains omega-6-unsaturated fatty acid – linoleic acid and choline plus smaller quantities of omega-3-fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid – all of which is essential for human life. Our bodies are not able to synthesize these substances.
Technically Soy Lecithin is known as phosphatidylcholine, which plays a very important role for barrier-active skin care. It is the most important substance for the formation of cell membranes and it enables the skin to form and build up bi-layers of lipid by providing the fatty acids which are essential for the barrier layers in form of linoleic acid unsaturated phosphatidylcholine, which creates the formation of ceramide I in the horny layer of the skin and palmitic and stearic acid – referred to as saturated phosphatidylcholine which has ceramide-like properties, so it can substitute ceramides.
In cell metabolism, phosphatidylcholine actually transfers to ceramides, enabling the formation of sphingomyelins which is essential for live cells. Both of these substance groups are of major importance for the homeostasis of the skin and this primarily is why phosphatidylcholine is able to.
Typical fatty acid composition of soy phosphatidylcholine
12,9% palmitic acid
4,4% stearic acid
10,5% oleic acid
66,5% linoleic acid
5,7% alpha linolenic acid
- Linoleic acid is the substance for the synthesis of arachidonic acid in the human body which fulfils many physiological functions.
- Among other beneficial effects linoleic acid has proven to be highly efficient in the treatment of blemished skin and of mild to moderate acne.
- A deficiency of linoleic acid leads to dry and scaly skin, followed by dermatoses. Essential fatty acids have proved to be effective in the prevention and therapy of neurodermatitis and skin diseases, when the skin barrier is chronically damaged.
- Phosphatidylcholine from vegetable lecithin is used for the treatment of acne vulgaris Clinical studies show a 60% decrease in comedones and a 70% decrease in efflorescences after 28 days. The content of linoleic acid in the skin increases significantly.
Benefits of Lecithin
Active Additive: It helps to soften and moisturise the skin.
Penetration Enhancer: It alters the skin structure allowing other substances to penetrate deeper.
Antioxidant: It helps to repair free radical damage, soothing inflamed, irritated skin.
Hydrophilic ingredient: It attracts water to the skin, working to prevent moisture loss from deep within the skin tissues.
Thickener: Soya lecithin can add thickness to a formula.
Moisturising: It is an occlusive and helps put moisturie back into the skin, which is due to its high levels of oleic and linoleic acid
Emulsifier: Soya lecithin helps emulsify oil and water products, making formulas more stable.
Why is lecithin used in personal care products?
Barrier repairing: Phospholipids as they are referred to in the industry, have interesting properties that resemble the skin barrier, so they are particularly suited for skin protection purposes, helping to repair the barrier function.
Hydrating: They help to stabilize the trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) on a natural level and are the perfect choice for dehydrated skin.
Moisturising: The active agents last a lot longer because they are slowly and evenly released, this is due to the phospholipids binding to keratin, the protein in our skin. For this reason i have encapsulated in both Nectar manuka balm and Fortify barrier repair cream.
The Naked Truth
Many skin care formulas are oil in water, and because of this they require emulsifiers, to help bind the small amounts of oil into large amounts of water.
Lecithin is often used in skin care as an emulsifier, it works by preventing water hating (hydrophobic) and water loving (hydrophilic) substances, such as oil and water from separating, this is why it works really well in barrier cream.
When you try to get a little water in a lot of oil, you need to utilise an emulsifier that favours the oil phase, one that has a HLB at the low end of the scale, his can be anywhere between 3 to 5, which is where Soya Lecithin comes into its own.
This is why I use soya lecithin in my balm formulas that contain Manuka honey, which is a sugar and water mix and tends to sit on top of oils. What happens if you don’t add a little bit of chemical diplomacy is that the formula separates.
So as you can see, not only is it the perfect skin restoring ingredient, it also plays a useful role in formulas too, seriously, who doesn’t need a little soya lecithin in their life.