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Controversial Ingredients: Setting the Record Straight

By: Ada Polla and Anne Pouillot
Posted: January 30, 2012, from the February 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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page 5 of 17

These ingredients should not necessarily be replaced, however. The potential presence of 1,4-dioxane is well-known, and can be controlled through purification steps to minimize it from ingredients before integrating them in cosmetic formulations.13

Alternative detergents can be used in cosmetics—including saponins, decyl glucoside and cocoamide betaine. Saponins are natural cleansing agents found in many plants, especially those growing in desert climates.

Saponins. These consist of polycyclic aglycones attached to one or more sugar side chains. Saponins exhibit cleansing properties because their structures contain both hydrophilic (sugar chain) and lipophilic (steroid or triterpene structure) components.

Decyl glucoside. This is a mild, nonionic surfactant ideal for sensitive skin. However, its texture is not comparable to that of foam obtained using anionic surfactants. For this reason, it is advisable to combine decyl glucoside with cocamide betaine.

Cocamidopropyl betaine. This is the chemical name of coco betaine, which is derived from coconut oil. It is used as a mild surfactant and is generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin. However, some clients may have allergic reactions to coconut oil derivatives.

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