What Is It?
Lecithin is a naturally occuring mixture of the diglycerides of stearic, palmitic and oleic acids, linked to the choline An organic compound formed by the reaction of an acid with an alcohol. of phosphoric acid whose form varies from a waxy mass to a thick, pourable liquid. Hydrogenated Lecithin is the product of controlled hydrogenation (addition of hydrogen) of Lecithin. Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin are used in the formulation of a large number of cosmetics and personal care products.
Why Is It Used?
Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. These ingredients also help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified.
Lecithin can be found in all living organisms and is a predominant component of nervous tissue. It can be obtained from soybean, corn, and egg yolks. Although Lecithin includes diglycerides of stearic, palmitic and oleic acids, the exact fatty acid composition of Lecithin varies depending on the source from which it was obtained.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Lecithin on its list of substances affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.) for direct addition to food. The safety of Lecithin, and Hydrogenated Lecithin, has been assessed by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 as an independent safety review program for cosmetic ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel consists of independent experts in dermatology, toxicology, pharmacolgy and veterinary medicine. The CIR includes participation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin are safe as used in rinse-off products. The CIR Expert Panel limited the use of Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin in in leave-on products to concentrations equal to or less than 15%.
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel found that Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin were safe as used in rinse-off products and, based on the results of sensitization and photosensitization studies, and safe for use at concentrations equal to or less than 15% in leave-on products. Because adverse reactions to Lecithin have been reported when it was used in a drug product intended to be inhaled, the CIR Expert Panel requested additional inhalation toxicity data. The CIR Expert Panel noted that Lecithin-containing A liposome is a spherical vesicle composed of a bilayer membrane. Liposomes can be composed of naturally-derived phospholipids with mixed lipid chains or of pure surfactant components. Liposomes usually (but not always) contain a core of aqueous solution. Lipid spheres that contain no aqueous material are called micelles. A liposome can encapsulate different substances inside the “droplet” and, in this manner, act like a delivery system. Liposomes are useful for stabilizing ingredients that are sensitive to degradation when exposed to air. may enhance the penetration of other ingredients through the skin and that care should be taken in formulating products that contain ingredients that the CIR Expert Panel determined safe for use based on their lack of dermal absorption, or when dermal absorption is a concern. The CIR Expert Panel also acknowledged that cosmetics and personal care products containing Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin may give rise to nitrosoamines in the presence of nitrate or other nitrosating agents.
Lecithin and Hydrogenated Lecithin may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the Under the general provisions of the cosmetics regulation of the EU, ingredients appearing on the following function-specific annexes must comply with the listed restrictions and/or specifications: colorants (Annex IV), preservatives (Annex V), UV filters (Annex VI) and other ingredients with specific concentration limits and/or other restrictions (Annex III). Ingredients specifically prohibited from use in cosmetic products are listed in Annex II. Other ingredients listed in the EU cosmetic ingredient database (CosIng) may be used without restrictions..
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has not limited the daily intake of Lecithin. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v05je42.htm
More Scientific Information
Lecithin is mixture of the diglycerides of stearic, palmitic and oleic acids, linked to choline ester of phosphoric acid. Lecithin functions as a skin conditioning agent – miscellaneous and as a An ingredient that helps two substances that normally do not mix to become dissolved or dispersed in one another. Also called a surface active agent. – emulsifying agent in cosmetics and personal care products. It can also act as a dispersing agent for pigments and as an Ingredients that prevent or slow deterioration due to chemical reaction with oxygen..