Biochemica claims butters are viable alternatives to petrolatum

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Florida-based cosmetic butters provider Biochemica says that demand for its range of natural-based butters is being driven by the move away from petrolatum ingredients.

The company has developed its range of butters on the back of increasing demand for natural and organic personal care products, which has in turn spawned a range of butters that is USDA organic certified.

The complete range includes fruit, vegetal, citrus and other naturally derived butters as well as a range of exotic oils sourced from all over the world and the development of a range of proprietary butters that emulate their natural counterparts.

This demand is being driven by finished goods providers searching out ingredients that are both natural in origin as well as having greener credentials.

The fact that the exotic butters are derived from natural, renewable sources lend them towards having a broad consumer appeal,”​ Larry Moroni, president of Biochemica International, told USA in an exclusive interview.

Petrolatum is not from a renewable resource

Because petrolatum is derived from fossil fuels, which are not renewable, the inclusion of this type of ingredient in personal care products that are marketed for either their natural or green credentials is becoming increasingly unacceptable.

Currently, the worldwide market for petrolatum is estimated to be growing steadily and should reach a value $339.2m by the year 2015, according to market researchers Global Industry Analysts.

Although this growth has been fed by consumers downgrading to cheaper products that more commonly contain petrolatum as a key ingredient, it is likely to be reversed in the longer term as the move towards natural and organic-based products continues to gain momentum.

Benefits to formulators

But on top of having greener credentials, Moroni also points out that there are specific benefits for formulators too.

“Physical advantages to using them in include: lighter skin feel, yet good film forming and moisturizing properties, a choice of skin feels and high oxidative stability.

"Exotic butters can also help to build viscosity and contribute to emulsion stability due to their crystal network formation in cremes and lotions,”​ he said.

These properties mean the butters can be used in an extremely wide range of personal care anhydrous formulations, the only limitation being oil-based formulations that cannot tolerate other vegetable oils.

Formulation flexibility

“Basically, any formulation that can incorporate any amount of oil will accept one of these butters as a suitable replacement,”​ Moroni said, while adding that the butters are most commonly used to replace petrolatum ingredients used in creams, lotions, lip balms and ointments.

One drawback is the cost of such butters, which are more expensive than petrolatum, but Moroni points out that the formulation advantages and greener credentials help to outweigh this aspect.

“Compared with petrolatum, these butters are relatively expensive,”​ he said “However, with improved skin feel, function and great consumer appeal, the higher cost is easily absorbed, especially when considering that the final cost of a product is often more to do with the packaging costs than ingredient costs.”

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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