The use of surfactants in the hair industry is essential not only as cleansing agents but also as stabilizing ingredients of emulsions systems and as permeation enhancers for effective delivery of active principles.
Usually surfactants are classified according to its ionic charge in anionic, cationic, non-ionic and amphoteric, but this classification does not clarify the nature of surfactants. Therefore, according to their nature, surfactants should be classified into chemical surfactants, bio-based surfactants and biosurfactants. Chemical surfactants should include those surfactants obtained from non-renewable raw materials, whereas bio-based surfactants should be those obtained through chemical reactions between natural biomolecules and chemical derivates. On the other hand, biosurfactants would include those surfactants composed by lipids, sugars or proteins and produced directly by living cells, without the intermediation of non-natural occurring chemical reactions. Consequently, biosurfactants are constituted by biomolecules similar to those included in biological membranes and structures, being more biocompatible than chemical or bio-based surfactants. However, the high production cost of biosurfactants in comparison with chemical or bio-based surfactants prevent their presence in cosmetic and personal care formulations.
Here, it is presented a cost competitive biosurfactant extract obtained from a residual stream of corn milling industry, spontaneously fermented by lactic acid bacteria, as well as by other bacilli strains, composed by lipopeptides, phenolic compounds and other complex fatty acids with interesting properties in cosmetic and personal care formulations.
The biosurfactant extract under evaluation has unique properties, as microorganisms produce different biosurfactant extracts depending on the fermentation media and growth conditions. This biosurfactant extract is able to reduce the surface of water about 30 units, it is amphoteric and possesses similar characteristics to polysorbates. A challenge test also revealed that this biosurfactant extract possesses a strong preservative effect against pathogenic bacteria without inhibiting the growth of probiotic microorganisms. Moreover, the HET CAM test showed that this biosurfactant is not irritant, as it did not produce any lysis or hemorrhagic effect on the chorionallantoic membrane of a hen´s egg.
Regarding the inclusion of this biosurfactant extract in hair formulations, this was added on dyed hair observing a positive effect on the cuticle, which appeared to be thicker, with more homogeneous borders and cuticles lying flatter than untreated dyed hair or samples treated with cetrimonium bromide (CTAB), which showed a more damaged aspect.
Additionally, it was observed that this biosurfactant extract inhibits the oxidation of vitamin C, known by its beauty benefits for obtaining younger-looking skin and a growing longer and stronger hair and nails, and also increased the permeation of active principles like caffeine, that stimulate hair growth, corroborating the potential application of this biosurfactant extract, obtained from corn milling industry, in the hair industry.
A) Biosurfactant extracted from corn steep water; B) Biosurfactant diluted in water and died hair treated with: C) water x 5000; D) chemical detergents x 5000; E) biosurfactant x 5000; F) biosurfactant x 10000