Ultrasonically Emulsified Creams and Cosmetic Products

Skin care products such as creams, lotions, moisturizers, balms and ointments are generally based on stable submicron- and nano-sized emulsions. Ultrasonic emulsification creates high-shear forces and is well-established as a potent and reliable blending technique for skin care and cosmetic products.

Homogeneous Emulsification of Skin Care Production

Sonication is used as potent mixing and blending technology for skin care products such a creams, lotions and ointmentsUltrasonic emulsification is an established technique to produce submicron- and nano-emulsions for skin care and cosmetic products. Low-frequency, high-amplitude sonication is the superior processing method, which can easily replace the conventional high-pressure homogenizer or high-shear mixer. When liquids or slurries are sonicated by high-power ultrasonics, intense shear forces are generated, which deliver the necessary energy to produce stable and translucent or transparent submicron- or nanoemulsions. Acoustic (ultrasonic) cavitation creates violently and asymmetrically imploding vacuum bubbles, which subsequently results in locally confined extreme conditions such as very high pressure and temperature differentials as well as liquid-jets. These extreme conditions disrupt droplets and disperse and break solid particles to submicron-/ nanometer scale. Submicron- and nano-sized emulsions have the advantage that the minute droplets offer a very high surface area, which improves skin penetration and the delivery of bioactive substances into the skin layers. Furthermore, nanoemulsions are stable when compared to macro-emulsions and do not show creaming, sedimentation, flocculation, or coalescence, which are observed with macroemulsions.
With ultrasonicators, emulsification processes can be easily tested on small scale and then linearly scaled-up to production level. This facilitates the development of new formulations or the optimisation of existing products.
Read more about ultrasonic nano-emulsification!
Follow this link to learn more about surfactant-free Pickering emulsions prepared via sonication!

Ultrasonic emulsification with Hielscher's UP200Ht and sonotrode S26d14

Ultrasonic preparation of an emulsion (red water / yellow oil). A few seconds of sonication turn the separate water/oil phases into a fine emulsion.

Ultrasonicemulsification is used to produce skin care products such as creams and lotions with a high load of active substances.

UIP1000hdT with glass flow reactor for the production of skin care products such as creams, lotions and balms

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Advantages of Ultrasonic Cosmetic Nanoemulsions

  • Increased absorption rate
  • Reduced absorption fluctuations
  • Improved bioavailability of lipophilic molecules
  • Long-term stability
  • Protection against oxidation and hydrolysis
Ultrasonic Nano-Emulsions: This video demonstrated the rapid production of a nano-emulsion of oil in water. The UP200Ht homogenizes the oil and water in seconds.

Ultrasonic Emulsification of oil in water with ultrasonicator UP200Ht

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Ultrasonic Dispersion of Bioactive Molecules

In general, sophisticated skin care products are enriched with active ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins and other bioactive molecules, which nourish the skin or accomplish certain dermatogical tasks. Typical used bioactive substances include vitamins such as vitamins C and vitamin E, CoQ10, reveratrol, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, as well as various peptides and lipids. To ensure an even application and the controlled delivery of cosmetic ingredients, the bioactives must be dispersed homogeneously and with an uniform distribution throughout the skin care product. Ultrasonic homogenizers disperse solid particles evenly and with a uniform particle size with in the skin care formulation. Thereby, ultrasonic mixing and dispersing not only result in an even, smooth cream texture, but also protects the bioactive molecules against oxidation and hydrolysis since the bioactive substances are encapsulated in the oil phase of the O/W nanoemulsion and are not exposed to water and air.

Depending on the formulation (water-in-oil or oil-in-water emulsion), lipophilic and hydrophilic bioactive molecules benefit from the formulation into nanoemulsions or liposomes, respectively.
To learn more about the ultrasonic production of nano-liposomes, please click here!

Advantages of Ultrasonic Blending

  • Submicron-/ nano-size
  • Homogeneous mix
  • Rapid process
  • Non-thermal process
  • Reproducible results
  • Precisely controllable
  • Linear scale-up
  • Easy and safe
  • High-Performance Ultrasonic Mixers for Cosmetic Formulations

    The formulation of skin care products such as creams, lotions, moisturisers, balms, ointments, salves and dermatological products for topical / transdermal applications requires a reliable and potent mixing technology to prevent phase separation, creaming and flocculation of ingredients in the skin care product. Ultrasonic homogenizers create high-shear mixing forces which disrupt droplets to submicron-/nano-size and disperses and deagglomerates particles into a homogeneous blend. The uniform submicron-/nano-sized mixing provides a long-term stable formulation with a deep skin penetration, high absorption rate and delivery of bioactive molecules.
    Precise control over the ultrasonic process parameters by Hielscher Ultrasonics' intelligent softwareHielscher Ultrasonics supplies ultrasonic homogenizers to manufacturers of skin care and cosmetic products worldwide. The precise control over all important process parameters auch as amplitude, pressure, temperature and sonication time make the ultrasonic process reliable and reproducible. Hielscher Ultrasonics knows of the importance of continuously high product quality and supports the cosmetic manufacturers to implement process standardisation and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) as all our digital ultrasonic homogenizers automatically record all ultrasonic process parameters on a built-in SD-card. This facilitates process monitoring and quality control significantly.
    All Hielscher ultrasonicators are built for the 24/7 operation under full load and are reliable work horses in production.

    Industrial Size Ultrasonicators

    Ultrasonic processor UIP4000hdT, a 4kW powerful ultrasonic reactorHielscher Ultrasonics’ product range covers the full spectrum from compact lab ultrasonicators to powerful bench-top and fully industrial ultrasonic systems. Whilst sonication processes can be run in batch and inline mode, for larger volumes on industrial level the continuous sonication using a flow-through setup is recommended due to the exceptionally uniform sonication and process control. A broad variety of accessories such as sonotrodes (also known as probes, horns or tips), booster horns (which function as intensifier or decreaser), flow cell reactors and other add-ons allow to assemble the ideal configuration for your process.
    Robustness, reliability and low maintenance are further advantages of Hielscher ultrasonicators. All Hielscher industrial ultrasonic systems are built for the 24/7 operation at heavy duty and in demanding environments.

    The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

    Batch VolumeFlow RateRecommended Devices
    1 to 500mL10 to 200mL/minUP100H
    10 to 2000mL20 to 400mL/minUP200Ht, UP400St
    0.1 to 20L0.2 to 4L/minUIP2000hdT
    10 to 100L2 to 10L/minUIP4000hdT
    n.a.10 to 100L/minUIP16000
    n.a.largercluster of UIP16000

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    Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for dispersion, emulsification and cell extraction.

    High-power ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to pilot and industrial scale.

    Literature / References

    Facts Worth Knowing

    About Emulsions in Cosmetic Products

    An emulsion is a two-phase system. The principal components are an oil phase and an aqueous phase. The aqueous phase is water plus any combination of materials which are polar and dissolve, at least to some extent, in water. The oil phase comprises one or more oily materials, or other ingredients which are nonpolar and exhibit at least some solubility in oily materials. Oil-in-water (o/w): oil droplets dispersed in water; the oil is referred to as the internal or dispersed phase and the water as the external or continuous phase. Water-in-oil emulsion (w/o): water droplets are dispersed in oil; the water is the internal or dispersed phase and the oil the external or continuous phase. w/o/w or o/w/o are so-called complex or multiple emulsions.

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