POLYSORBATE 80

INCI: Polysorbate 80

What is Polysorbate 80?

Polysorbate 80 is formed by the ethoxylation of sorbitan. It contains 80 units of 

ethylene oxide with a group of oleic acid attached to its hydrophobic tail. It is yellow

colored, water-soluble, viscous liquid. It is widely used in food, textiles, drug, and 

cosmetic products. 

Use & Benefits:

Polysorbate 80 is used as a surfactant, emulsifier, and solubilizer 

in cosmetic products. Surfactant lowers the surface tension between two 

components of the product like two liquids or a liquid and a solid. It has a special 

structure of a molecule that can hold water-loving and fat-loving components 

together. Here, it attracts dirt, oil, and other impurities accumulated on the surface 

of the skin, binds with it which then can be washed off easily with water. Since a 

product is mostly a combination of water-based and oil-based ingredients, the 

emulsifier is needed to stabilize the formulation since it can act as a common 

medium for both oil-loving and water-loving components and helps stabilize the 

product. Moreover, when it is exposed to harsh environmental conditions like 

temperature fluctuation and humidity changes, it can break and separate into its 

components. But when a product has one or more emulsifiers, the stability of the 

product can increase multifold. It also enables even distribution of the product 

components when used. It is also used as a wetting agent and dispersing agent in 

many cosmetic products. It is used in formulations of cleansers, creams, lotions, 

make-up products, and other hair and skincare products

References:

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