Polysorbate 20 (common commercial brand names include Scattics, Alkest TW 20 and Tween 20) is a polysorbate surfactant whose stability and relative non-toxicity allows it to be used as a detergent and emulsifier in a number of domestic, scientific, and pharmacological applications. It is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan monolaurate, and is distinguished from the other members in the polysorbate range by the length of the polyoxyethylene chain and the fatty acid ester moiety. The commercial product contains a range of chemical species.
- Polysorbate 20 is used as a wetting agent in flavored mouth drops such as Ice Drops, helping to provide a spreading feeling to other ingredients like SD alcohol and mint flavor.The World Health Organization has suggested acceptable daily intake limits of 0-25 mg of polyoxyethylene sorbitan esters per kg body weigh
- Polysorbate 20 is used as an excipient in pharmaceutical applications to stabilize emulsions and suspensions.
Polysorbate 20 is used in cosmetics and skin care products as a surfactant, emulsifier, and fragrance ingredient. It is derived from Lauric Acid and is also a chemical mixture of sorbitol ethylene oxide, according to Wikipedia. It is sometimes derived from fruits and berries as well, leading to its fragrant properties. Polysorbate 20 can serve as a dispersing agent and mix oil and water, work as a fragrance solubilizer and stabilizer, act as a lubricator, and have a soothing effect on the skin (NatureBath.com).
Polysorbate 20 is FDA and CIR approved.
- The Cosmetics Database rates Polysorbate 20 as a low hazard ingredient, noting developmental and reproductive toxicity as concerns, but finding these results only in animals after high doses were administered. Lesser concerns regarding this ingredient are endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, and irritation, and one or more animal studies show skin irritation at moderate doses.
- Consult your pharmacist.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysorbate_20#cite_note-1