Zinc lauryl ether sulphate, a new approach to skin care

Combining skin cleansing with skin care is one of the main aims in modern cosmetics. The most common surfactant, sodium lauryl ether sulphate, has frequently been used in combination with anti-irritant agents in order to reduce its lipid-solvent effects. Magnesium or alkanolamine salt of the same surfactant have been claimed to perform detersion with lower irritation. A new ‘colloidal precipitation’ surfactant, formed by hydro-soluble zinc alkyl ether sulphate, shows very low irritation potential both alone and in combination with other tensioactives. Moreover, it has additional properties, bound to its capability to inhibit bacterial growth: it strongly reduces body odour without the use of common bactericides. Evaluations of its main cosmetic properties are described, together with the significant formulation requirements. The use of ‘colloidal deposition’ cations, opened by this new Zinc surfactant, offers elegant and complex formulation potential, allowing interesting blends and tailor-made cutaneous effects for sensitive skin and for restitution cleansing at low pH.