Rhamnolipid: an Eco- and Skin-friendly Alternative to Synthetic Surfactant

E. B. Marangoni, T. R. Rodrigues, C. Porto, R. T. R. Almeida, M. I. Harris, R. K. R. Oliveira, D. M. B. Moreira, L. G. S. Oliveira, K. J. Silva, B. Malito, J. S. Nakayama

The search for innovative and sustainable products that are less damaging to the skin is a matter of foremost importance in the cosmetics area. Chemical surfactants are widely used in cosmetic formulations, however, they have harmful effects, such as allergic reactions and skin irritations, therefore, it is evident that chemical surfactants need to be replaced by more sustainable compounds that present fewer or no negative effect on skin health. Biosurfactants have shown great potential, presenting advantages such as biodegradability, low toxicity, skin compatibility, increased protection and moisturizing effects. Rhamnolipids (RLs) are biosurfactants produced by some bacteria, mainly Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Because of the presence of hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups in the same molecule, RLs present interesting emulsifying and surfactant properties, making them a suitable alternative to chemical surfactants in cosmetic formulations. In the current study, the properties of the biosurfactant produced by Apoena Biotech were investigated through surface tension tests, CMC, foam formation and stability, antioxidant potential and makeup removal. It was found that RL is a potential substitute or co-surfactant for chemical surfactants. In addition, its antioxidant activity makes it a multifunctional active that can provide benefits to the skin, besides its surfactant’s properties.


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