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Phosphatidylcholine is active agent and carrier for actives in one and used for dermatics and cosmetics


A natural principle with numerous features

Mother Nature as model

  • Phosphatidylcholine is widely found in the cell membranes of plants and animals and as an ingredient of fat dispersions (milk, chylomicrons).
  • The natural principle can be transferred to high quality, compatible skin care products.
  • There are two kinds of phosphatidylcholine: (1) unsaturated (PC), (2) saturated (PC-H).

Active agent and carrier of actives

Phosphatidylcholine is the main constituent of:

  • Liposomes (PC)
  • Nanoparticles (PC)
  • DMS (PC-H)
  • Oleogels (PC, PC-H)

Phosphatidylcholine shows many effects on and in the skin. Further it is able to transport cosmetic and dermatological actives into the skin and to distribute them well in the horny layer.

Effects on and in the skin

  • Smoothing of the skin
  • Increase of skin humidity
  • Skin protection
  • Prevention of cornification and barrier disorders
  • Conditioning of skin and hair
  • Support of skin regeneration
  • Supplier of choline and linoleic acid (PC)

Unsaturated phosphatidylcholine (PC)

  • Unsaturated phosphatidylcholine is normally extracted from soy lecithine. It contains choline and omega-6-unsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid) plus smaller quantities of omega-3-fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), all essential for human life. The human body is not able to synthesize these substances.
  • Typical fatty acid composition of soy phosphatidylcholine:
    12,9% palmitic acid
    4,4% stearic acid
    10,5% oleic acid
    66,5% linoleic acid
    5,7% alpha linolenic acid
  • Linoleic acid is the substrate for the synthesis of arachidonic acid in the human body. The metabolites of arachidonic acid (prostacycline, prostaglandines, thromboxanes and leucotrienes) fulfil many physiological functions.
  • Among other beneficial effects linoleic acid has proven to be highly efficient in the treatment of blemished skin and of mild to moderate acne.
  • A deficiency of linoleic acid leads to dry and scaly skin, followed by dermatoses. Essential fatty acids have proved to be effective in the prevention and therapy of neurodermatitis and skin diseases, when the skin barrier is chronically damaged.
  • Phosphatidylcholine from vegetable lecithine is used for the treatment of acne vulgaris (1. and 2.grade). Clinical studies show a 60% decrease in comedones and a 70% decrease in efflorescences after 28 days. The content of linoleic acid in the skin increases significantly. Recent publication concerning acne:
    G. Fabrizio, S. D. Randazzo, A. Cardillo, L. Tiberi und P. Morganti, Safety and efficacy of a lamellar Phosphatidylcholine emulsion to treat mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne, SÖFW-Journal 125 (6), 12-14 (1999)

Saturated phosphatidylcholine (PC-H)

  • Phosphatidylcholine containing saturated fatty acids (palmitic acid, stearic acid) is able to stabilise the natural skin barrier. The natural condition of the skin is preserved.
  • Saturated phosphatidylcholine keeps skin humidity and transepidermal water loss stable to a great extent, even if there are external influences acting on the skin (skin protection)

More information: Strong effects - phospholipids in cosmetics, Kosmetik International 2003 (2), 38-40.


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Revision: 27.05.2021