var disqus_url = '';

Oleosomes—Creating a New Category Of Moisturizing Hand Sanitizers


by Jack Guth and Carl Cappabianca

From early times, seeds of various types have been crushed for their oil content and used for a wide range of applications from cooking to cosmetics. However, it was not discovered until recently the tiny, protein-enveloped “oil bodies" contained within seeds called oleosomes have unique properties and could be isolated intact, and subsequently used in a wide variety of  cosmetic applications. In seeds, intact oleosomes serve the purpose of storing and protecting the oil to be used during the germination process, but when used in cosmetic applications, they provide an entirely different set of benefits. For example, oleosomes are excellent cold-process emulsifiers and can be used as delivery systems that allow for the delayed release of their contents over time. Moreover, oleosomes can be loaded with a wide variety of oil-soluble actives. Release of the oil from the oleosomes, as well as any active ingredients loaded within them, are key features of their application in an emerging new category of moisturizing hand sanitizers.

What are Oleosomes?

Oleosomes are tiny microspheres within the seed that plants have evolved over millions of years to store and protect the energy source within. Found in all oil-bearing seeds, oleosomes are 1-3 micron spheres consisting of a core of vegetable triglycerides surrounded by a thin phospholipid membrane and encased in a high molecular weight (greater than 25K) oleosin protein coat.

Due to their small size, the oil within, and a protein coat which possess both hydrophobic and hydrophilic characteristics, oleosomes are by nature excellent cosmetic moisturizers as well as powerful emulsifiers. In addition, oil-soluble active ingredients can be “loaded" into the oleosomes and then released on the skin or hair over time—extending the benefits of either the seed oil itself or the previously loaded actives—which provides longer-lasting moisturizing and other beneficial attributes.

Recent Oleosome Developments

Oleosomes were launched into the cosmetics world several years ago with many early adopters taking advantage of their natural source, sustainability, moisturizing benefits and emulsification capabilities.  In recent years, further oleosome application and product developments have been researched, demonstrated and introduced. For example, the loading/release characteristics of actives such as sunscreens have recently been more fully explored and documented.

Of particular current interest and practical application is the development and introduction to the cosmetics market of a new generation of more robust, “stabilized" oleosomes. Stabilization allows the oleosomes to be used in a wider range of more challenging formulation matrices, including high levels of alcohol. Hand sanitizers present an excellent application where the unique attributes of stabilized oleosomes can be utilized as moisturizing agents in such high alcohol environments.

Moisturizing Hand Sanitizers:  A New Category

We are all familiar with the growing range of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Designed to reduce the microbial population on the skin, without the negatives of anti-microbial build-up, alcohol-based formulations can also be very drying and eventually can cause irritation particularly with frequent use.  With the introduction of the more robust oleosomes, a new category of moisturizing hand sanitizers has been created.

Oleosomes are uniquely designed to provide immediate moisturization, as some of the oleosome structures are broken upon application. They also have the ability to continue delivering this benefit over time since the remaining structures dry, collapse and release their contents.

Particle size analysis shows the collapse of oleosomes (1-5 microns) over time and the appearance of the free oil which subsequently coalesces into larger droplets up to about 50 microns.

Since the oleosomes release their contents based on both friction and drying, they do not all release their contents—be it oil or loaded actives—immediately upon application. It is this feature of the oleosomes that overcomes the short-term drying of the alcohol and provides a longer-term moisturizing effect.

Safflower oleosome-based, alcohol hand sanitizer formulations are elegant in their simplicity. However, the resulting moisturization differences versus conventional formulations can be quite dramatic. In conventional systems, emollient oils are not typically soluble in alcohol and will eventually coalesce over time and settle to the bottom of the formulation. Therefore, the ability to sequester the oil and/or active ingredient—and finely disperse the materials throughout the hand sanitizer alcohol matrix in oleosome form—creates a unique route for extended release of the moisturizing agents.

The unique attributes of oleosomes plus the recent development of more robust, stabilized products has opened the door to new applications. One of these unique applications has created a new category of oleosome-based, extended release, moisturizing hand sanitizers.  The number of potential products in which this natural, sustainable technology can be used ranges from periodic consumer use to multiple applications per day in medical and hospital environments.

Jack Guth is the vice president of R&D at Botaneco Specialty Ingredients, and Carl Cappabianca is the director of sales and marketing at Botaneco Specialty Ingredients. Botaneco is the global developer and marketer of oleosome-based ingredients to the personal care and over-the-counter (OTC) topical markets, and the creator of Hydresia™ ingredients, which serve as effective replacements for synthetic, petroleum- and animal- derived ingredients in a variety of product categories.


/**/ var loc = window.location.pathname;var nt=String(Math.random()).substr(2,10);document.write ('');
//window.disqus_no_style = true; (function() { var SHORTNAME = 'insidecosmeceuticals'; // Your website's shortname on Disqus var dsq = document.createElement('gascript'); dsq.type = 'text/javagascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '' + SHORTNAME + '/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })();


//= 0) { query += 'url' + i + '=' + encodeURIComponent(links[i].href) + '&'; } } document.write(''); })(); //]]> /* var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-624328-41"); pageTracker._setDomainName("auto"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); /*]]>*/