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Natural Organic Skin Care

The last in our series of components of natural organic skin care is to discuss surfactants and their role in natural skin care products. Surfactants play the role of lowering the surface tension of a given substance, whether of simply one liquid, the tension between two liquids, or the tension between a solid and a given liquid. Surfactants act as emulsifiers, foaming agents, detergents, or wetting agents, all of which prove useful in natural organic skin care products.

Surfactants are chemically fascinating. If you have heard of the terms hydrophobic (water repelling) and hydrophilic (water attracting, like the humectants we discussed), then you will be interested to know that surfactants are neither. Rather, they are amphiphilic. Just like an amphibious creature such as a frog is comfortable in both water and air, an amphiphilic compound is both attracted and repelled to water. How is this possible? Well, surfactant molecules generally have a head and a tail. The head is hydrophilic and the tail is hydrophobic. This makes them very useful when it comes to combining water and oil, two usually immiscible substances. In this way, surfactants in natural organic skin care products tend to act as emulsifiers.
Unfortunately there has been significant environmental and health controversy over certain common surfactants found in many common products. For instance, perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA for short, is a surfactant used to manufacture such products as Gore-Tex and Teflon. PFOA is really nasty stuff, as it is toxic and carcinogenic to animals and humans, and also persists in the environment for an indefinite period of time. Similarly, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, PFOS for short, is a surfactant that has come under fire for creating pollution around the world. PFOS was the main component of Scotchgard and other stain repellents, but has been found to increase the risk of kidney disease in human populations.

Many companies have pledged to eliminate or cut down on pollution by toxic surfactants, which is positive for environmental and human health. This has created a big need for biosurfactants which can be used in natural organic skin care products, as well as other household and industrial products. 

Biosurfactants In Natural Organic Skin Care

Aside from their uses in natural organic skin care, biosurfactants have been shown to be useful in situations such as oil spill cleanups and other related environmental disasters. They might also be an environmentally friendlier component in pesticides, herbicides, detergents, ceramic processing, food processing, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, coal, paper manufacture, textile manufacture, uranium ore processing, and peat manufacture. 

One example of a biosurfactant that has been useful in natural organic skin care is the soapnut. The soapnut is a natural alternative to laundry detergent, and can also be used in hair and cosmetic products. The soapnut is a small fruit that creates a natural soap out of its pulp when combined with water and some agitation. Soapnut can also be used in household items as well as medicines and skin care. Another natural surfactant is soapwort. It is important to explore alternatives to toxic surfactants for your natural organic skin care products.