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© 1991 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Vol. 42, No. 2, 71-85

Phospholipid liposomes\/surfactant interactions as predictors of skin irritation
Ursula K. Charaf , Gerald L. Hart



The use of large unilamellar liposomes is described as a model membrane system to study surfactant—skin interactions. The relative tendency of surfactants or surfactant blends to form mixed micelles with liposome membrane components determines the aggressivity factor believed to be related to in vivo surfactant irritation responses. The potential irritancy of a surfactant is partly determined by chemical structure, steric factors, and relative polarity, as well as by charge and type of counterions. Single surfactants and surfactant mixtures were investigated and their behavior toward liposomal membranes was used to establish a mathematical index of surfactant aggressivity. Statistically significant rank correlation was established between this index and in vivo scores for the anionic surfactants and blends tested, as well as for some mixed blends, but not with nonionics. The method has distinct advantages over traditional in vivo tests. It is expedient, inexpensive, sensitive, objective, and reproducible. Moreover, it does not use live animals or derive its components from tissues or organs.

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© 1991 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists