What Is An Emulsion?
Lotions, liniments, massage oils, creams and compresses are all external preparations such as moisturisers but are also used to treat conditions such as skin problems and rashes, to relieve bruising, aches and pains.
But what is an emulsion and what does it actually mean.
All of these products tend to be water and oil preparations and as a result of the oil content will absorb into the skin.
Making a lotion, cream liniment etc is based on blending the oil and water in the right proportions to make an emulsion. Leave it long enough and it will eventually separate. By adding an emulsifier, this becomes a stable product and will remain bound. The emulsifiers you then select are dependent on which type of emulsion it is.
So What Is The Difference?
An emulsion can be made in two ways: either as a oil in water emulsion or a water in oil. Sound the same don’t they and they do create a similar result.
If it is a oil in water emulsion, then the oil is the disperse phase and the water is the continuous phase.
If it is a water in oil emulsion, then the water is the disperse phase and the oil is the continuous phase.
Either type of cream/lotion can separate into it’s components over time even with the emulsifier present and can sometimes be caused by extreme temperatures, the wrong proportion of the disperse component and the addition of other components such as alcohol.
Most people these days are selective of what they put on their skin, so be aware of what type of emulsion it is. Try to find a product that has natural emulsifiers in it and uses natural oils are the base. Your skin will thank you for it.