Amino acid surfactants belong to the group of anionic surfactants. Their molecules are made of polar amino acids (hydrophilic moieties) and long-chain compounds that are hydrophobic. They are made on the basis of biomimetics – raw materials that mimic the chemical compounds of natural origin. The fatty acids derived from vegetable raw materials are also used for the production of amino acid surfactants.
Amino acid surfactants are characterized by a high degree of biodegradability, which is why they are safe and environmentally friendly. The bacterial degradation of these compounds is faster than for the majority of anionic surfactants available on the market.
What are the most important properties of amino acid surfactants?
Surfactants from this group are characterized by excellent foaming properties. Unlike other surfactants, their foaming capacity is not deteriorated in the alkaline environment. As a result, amino acid surfactants can be used in higher pH formulations. High, stable and dense foam is also formed in the presence of hard water or tallow substances. Thanks to this, the amino acid surfactants are as good as foaming surfactants such as betaine or SLES.
Amino acid surfactants are the mildest surfactants available on the market. They exhibit hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic properties, i.e. they do not cause clogging of the skin pores. These features are particularly important in cosmetic applications. Amino acid surfactants do not have an irritating effect on the skin. Protein adsorption at surfaces causes a long-lasting feeling of comfort and softness of the skin. They also have the ability to alleviate the irritating effects of other surfactants contained in the composition of cosmetic formulations. They delicately clean the hair and eliminate the electrostatic charges, making it soft and silky.
Applications of amino acid surfactants
Due to their mild effect, these surfactants are used primarily in cosmetic products and preparations intended for personal hygiene. They are ingredients of shampoos (mainly for children and infants), lotions and gels for body washing and face care cosmetics.
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