What is Nonoxynol?
Nonoxynol, also called nonaethylene glycol, is a group of compounds used in various cosmetic products. Nonoxynol is followed by some number ranging from 1 to 100. The number indicates the moles of ethylene oxide reacted with the basic molecule named nonylphenol to produce specific nonoxynol ingredients. The shorter in groups are liquid, as the number goes above 20 they are semi-liquid and waxy. Nonoxynol-9 is the most common ingredient used.
Use & Benefits:
Nonoxynol is used mainly in cosmetics as surfactants. Lower molecules are used as colorants and dyes, while higher molecular weight nonoxynol can be used to help in solubilizing many ingredients in solvents, which are otherwise difficult to incorporate. Some formulation needs to control foam as a matter of customer usage satisfaction such as shampoos, hand wash, bathing soap etc. Otherwise one might feel that product is not coming off from the surface, so in such products, nonoxynols can be used to control foaming. Also, nonoxynols are used in many rinses off preparation. Nonoxynol-9 has a specific use as it can be used as a non-hormonal contraceptive spermicide in vaginal creams and other such products. It reduces the surface tension around the area where it is applied, which is not very favorable for sperms to survive and thus, it exerts the spermicidal effect.