Is Lecithin Safe for Skin?

Benefits Of Using Lecithin

Lecithin generally refers to a group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring naturally in plant and animal tissues, including human bodies.

It comprises fatty acids that are a mixture of diglycerides of stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids linked to the choline ester of phosphoric acid.

At National Lecithin, we wanted to know how to use lecithin in skin care as we produce this wonderful ingredient primarily by mixing the fatty compounds choline and cephalin.   

Lecithin fats are amphiphilic. This means they are hydrophilic (attract water) and lipophilic (attract fatty substances).

All this is well and good, but is Lecithin safe for skin?

We hear you ask. Well, the properties of lecithin make it ideal and safe to use on the skin.

For instance, stearic and palmitic fatty acids that are contained in Lecithin are widely used in cosmetics and skincare products to improve the moisture content of the skin. 

That as it may be, however, Lecithin containing oleic acids should be avoided by those with acne-prone skin.

This is because, unlike fatty acids, acids do not hydrate nor are they gentle on the skin. Also, those with egg and soy allergies should first find out about the Lecithin contained in any products they would like to use on their skins. So, while the answer to the question, is lecithin safe for the skin is a definite – yes, there are some exceptions.  

However, aside from these, Lecithin is often safely used in cosmetics and personal care products.

The kind of lecithin used in cosmetics and personal care products is called hydrogenated Lecithin. It is the product of controlled hydrogenation, the addition of hydrogen to Lecithin.

You might again wonder whether, when hydrogenated lecithin is still safe for the skin?

The answer to this question is once more- yes- although with some qualifications. 

Researchers have found that hydrogenated Lecithin is generally non-irritating and non-sensitizing in animal and human skin.

Specifically, available data has shown that Lecithin and hydrogenated Lecithin are safe as used in rinse-off cosmetic products.

They may also be safely used in leave-on products at concentrations up to 15% – the highest concentration tested in clinical irritation and sensitization studies.

However, their safety could not be substantiated in cosmetic products likely to be inhaled. 

Five Major Benefits of Using Lecithin in Skincare Products

The benefits of using Lecithin in skincare products are numerous and varied because of its:

  • Emollient Property

An emollient is that which especially makes your skin soft or supple. When your skin’s top layer lacks enough water, it dries out.

This causes it to crack and flake off – leaving open spaces between cells. Emollients fill such spaces with fatty substances, called lipids, which make skin smoother and softer.

In some skincare products, Lecithin is added as an emollient ingredient. It serves to hydrate dry, rough, flaky skin, making it feel smooth, look, and feel better. 

Emollients such as Lecithin contain a lot of oil that acts as an occlusive agent.

This coats your skin with a thin oily film that seals the water and helps your skin stay hydrated longer.

In this way, emollients such as Lecithin form the part of moisturizers that help keep your skin soft and smooth.

Lecithin’s emollient property also enables it to give your skin a protective barrier.

This protective barrier protects against various skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other dry skin conditions.

Lecithin generally improves the texture and feel of skincare and cosmetic formulations.

  • Emulsifying Ability

When water and oil are mixed and vigorously shaken, a dispersion of oil droplets in water – and vice versa – is formed.

However, when the shaking stops, the phases start to separate.

Adding an emulsifier such as Lecithin to the system ensures the droplets remain dispersed, and a stable emulsion is obtained. 

Most skincare formulae have oil in water and readily use emulsifiers like Lecithin to bind small molecules of oil to large water molecules.

By so doing, Lecithin acts as an emulsifier that prevents hydrophobic (oil) and hydrophilic (water) from separating.

Consequently, due to its emulsifying ability, Lecithin is often the main ingredient in many barrier creams such as lip gloss, lip balm, primer, foundation, cleanser, face mask, face cream, and body lotion.

  • Skin Penetration Enhancing Capability

The skin has evolved to prevent excessive water loss from the internal organs and to limit the ability of xenobiotics and hazardous substances to enter the body.

Despite this, some strategies have been developed to enhance cosmetic skin penetration. In the cosmetics industry, skin penetration enhancers like Lecithin are used in skin care products because of their ability to disturb and deliver active ingredients into the skin. 

Lecithin can change the structure of the skin to facilitate the penetration of other substances into the skin.

  • Antioxidant Property

Lecithin also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for making the skin vibrant and youthful.

Most notably, it is rich in Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E locates the skin’s free radicals and protects the cells and tissues from further damage.

By so doing, Lecithin helps soothe irritated and inflamed skin. 

  • Collagen Production Stimulation

Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body. As you age, your body produces less collagen.

This lack of collagen results in common signs of aging such as wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints.

Lecithin is known to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm.

Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves making it more youthful in appearance. 

In addition to the five major skincare benefits of Lecithin outlined above, currently, Lecithin is not only a key ingredient of many skin care products; it is also widely used as an ingredient in numerous other manufacturing processes. 

Get High-Quality Lecithin for Your Needs

Due to Lecithin’s varied beneficial properties, it is currently also being used in many other manufactured products.  

These range from can and confectionary production to the large-scale manufacture of many other products such as cooking sprays, basketball courts, roadwork, pharmaceuticals, and lately, even edible marijuana.

As you can understand, given Lecithin’s varied and amazing industrial properties, we, at National Lecithin have, for over 45 years, been commercially manufacturing and distributing this awesome ingredient to commercial and industrial businesses throughout the United States and Canada.

So, if your enterprise uses Lecithin as an ingredient in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact National Lecithin. 

Our Lecithin is prepared and shipped in drums at the smallest scale, and multiple pallets on the larger end. 

As such, no order is too small or too large. We and our Lecithin Team won’t let you down.