Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate: The Cleaner Side of Coconut Oil.



What Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate?

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a cleansing ingredient used in skincare and haircare formulations. 

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is derived from coconut oil. It is primarily used in soaps, cleansers, shampoos, and cleansing products due to its surfactant abilities. Surfactants help to lift oil and dirt from the skin allows it to be washed away. This is why sodium cocoyl isethionate can be found in products that help to cleanse the skin and hair. 

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is used as a fine white powder that has a mild scent. It is usually used in concentrations that range between 10-25%. There are considered to be no issues with irritation, sensitivity, or toxicity at these concentrations. 

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate

the good: Sodium cocoyl isethionate helps to lift dirt and oil from the skin, allowing it to be washed away. Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a surfactant, making it a regular ingredient in cleansing formulations, soap, shampoos, and bath products.

the not so good: Nothing to report here. Sodium cocoyl isethionate is considered safe in its current uses and concentrations.

Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.

Keep an eye on: Sodium cocoyl isethionate is considered to be safe in concentrations up to 50%.

Why Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate Used?

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a surfactant ingredient derived from coconut oil. Surfactants are a type of ingredient that is used in cleansing products. Surfactants work by reducing the surface tension between two phases, ie between a liquid and a solid or a liquid and liquid.

By disruption of the surface tension allows for dirt and oils to be lifted from the skin where they can be easily washed away from the skin. Surfactants also help to wet skin and hair as they breakdown the barrier between the water and natural oils on the skin and hair, surfactants also make oils partially soluble in water and are able to suspend dirt and oil. Most surfactants will also contribute to the foaming and lathering properties of a product as well.

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is also considered a low-sensitivity surfactant. This means that it is unlikely to cause irritation or sensitivity when using this surfactant. Of course, the level of potential sensitivity will depend on the other ingredients in a specific product. However, sodium cocoyl isethionate is unlikely to be responsible for any irritation or sensitivity from a product. 

What Exactly Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate?

Just to get a little technical for those who are interested, sodium cocoyl isethionate is the sodium salt of the coconut fatty acid ester of isethionic acid. 

Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate Vegan?

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is considered a vegan ingredient. As sodium cocoyl isethionate is derived from coconut oil, a plant-based source, it is considered a vegan ingredient. 

It is always best to check the other ingredients in a formulation to ensure that the other ingredients in the formulation are also vegan. This also goes for checking if the brand is cruelty-free. Most companies will have information on whether they are cruelty-free accredited, on their website. 

Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate Safe?

The safety of sodium cocoyl isethionate has been evaluated by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for reviewing the safety of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. The Expert Panel has reviewed the available data on sodium cocoyl isethionate and found the ingredient to be safe in its current uses and concentrations. Sodium cocoyl isethionate is considered safe in concentrations up to 50% in rinse-off products and 17% for leave-on products. 

Rise off products refers to products that you would rinse off quickly after application such as cleansers and soaps. Leave on products refer to products that you would leave on for extended periods of time such as moisturizers, lotions, makeup, and masks. 

The research conducted on sodium cocoyl isethionate by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel determined that it has low irritation potential to the eyes. However, it was not found to be sensitizing to the skin or produce phototoxic effects. 

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel suggests that any irritation that would occur, in particular to the eyes would be of a similar nature to other surfactants and could cause mild irritation in hypersensitive skin types.

CIR, 1993. ‘Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate’, International Journal of Toxicology.



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