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intimate-hygiene

Intimate Hygiene

Personal empowerment and more liberated discussions about sexual image have opened an emerging trend within the cosmetic industry: intimate care is the new self care.

As the society is becoming more and more open minded about acceptance and embracing your true self, mentalities are evolving around sex in general but lately around women’s pleasure stigmatisation. Awareness about sexual health and wellness has become a hot discussion topic in every part of the world with a rising numbers of campaigns about periods, sexual diseases, ....

Source: EUROMONITOR / data year 2017 - RSP / current prices / fixed 2017 exchange rate

There is place for innovation in this market but formulation problematics are rising as the area characteristics are very specifics. The vagina microbiota is an efficient protection but its pH needs to be kept under control to avoid proliferation of Candida Albicans, the opportunist yeast responsible of feminine disagreements (irritations, infections, …). This very delicate equilibrium is naturally stable but anything from harsh body wash, stress to wearing tight clothes can compromise it.

In order to help to maintain this intimate balance, chemists are challenged to develop specific products which are very mild, ranging from pH 4.5 to pH 8-9 and well tolerated by vaginal epithelium.

To be confident in the use of ingredients for intimate wash, SEPPIC has performed in vitro tolerance tests on human reconstructed vaginal epithelium, recognized by pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The product is applied up to 24H to maximize the application times conditions then the cell viability is assessed with MTT method.

Your Answer For All Intimate Care Formulas

ALL pH

SEPINOV™ EMT 10 and SOLAGUM™ AX are multifunctional rheological modifiers. AQUAXYL™ is a sugar-based moisturizer. These products are efficient for a wide pH range from 3 to 12. In addition, the test of tolerance on vaginal epithelium shows their non-irritation and safety up to 3%, 1% and 3% respectively.

BASIC pH FORMULA

When intimate area’s pH decreases under 4, Candida Albicans fungi proliferation is encouraged by the acidic environment. In this case, pH equilibration can be achieved by the use of alkaline pH intimate products.  It requires ingredients easily formulable and stable on this dedicated pH range as per our gentle intimate wash A NEW HAPPINESS (EU07331). A well tolerated cleanser at basic pH containing Spicalm WP, perfect to forget small inconveniences !

ORONAL™ LCG E/OD is an anionic and non-ionic surfactants blend, highly tolerant foaming cleanser ideal for sensitive skins and vaginal mucosa, formulable from pH 5 to 8. On the same pH range, SEPICALM™ S WP, a blend of minerals and amino acids, soothes and reduces irritations. Both products shows their non-irritation and safety on vaginal epithelium up to 15% and 3% respectively.

NEUTRAL pH FORMULA

A pH of 5.5 is neutral for the intimate area, but the pH of the intimate area can range between 4.8 - 8, depending on if it is skin surface or mucous membrane. Mycosis is a fungal infection that can cause itchiness or irritation when there is an overgrowth of fungi. Although fungi is naturally present on the skin, this overgrowth can cause discomfort and since fungi prefer an acidic environment, neutral or basic products can be used to balance the skin to a neutral pH zone. The following products work well for formulas used to balance the acidity of the intimate area.

PROTEOL™ APL EF is a surfactant which produces a soft dense foam which is gentle and non-irritating. It respects the skin’s natural barrier without denaturing proteins. It is ideal for “sensitive skin” formulations.
Our most versatile polymer SEPIMAX ZEN™, can be used in an acidic or neutral pH and its cold processability makes it easy to use in sprays, gels, cleansing or even wipes. Just 0.5% of this polymer can stabilize your wipe or intimate masks, a new trend in 2018.  
CAPIGEL™ 98 can thicken in sulfate or sulfate-free surfactant systems, but it prefers a neutral pH of 6.5 - 8. It’s synergy with SEPIMAX ZEN™ can create unique jelly like textures for intimate soothing gels. FLUIDIPURE™ 8G, a short chained lipoamino acid, can be used from pH 5 to 7 for a well-balanced pH and maintains the natural acidic coat of the skin. All products show their non-irritation and safety on vaginal epithelium up to 10% (PROTEOL™ APL EF), 1% (SEPIMAX™ ZEN), 5% (CAPIGEL™ 98) and 10% (FLUIDIPURE™ 8G) respectively.  

ACIDIC pH FORMULA

When intimate area’s pH is disequilibrated and increases over 5.5, the alkaline environment favours unhealthy bacterias’ development responsible for mycosis linked with uncomfortable itching sensations. The pH environment can be balanced and regulated with acidic intimate products composed by efficient and tolerant ingredients on pH acidic range.
ORAMIX GB 10 is a smart and tolerant foaming blend of non-ionic and amphoteric surfactant. Vegetal based and readily biodegradable*, it provides a soft and abundant foam (more efficient than SLS**), ideal for natural concepts. is formulable from pH 4.
SEPIMAX ZEN™, robust polymer, is able to create transparent gels from pH 3. With a rich and velvety touch in non foaming formulas, it will also bring softness and creaminess to foaming formulas’ lather.

WRITTEN BY

Elodie BRUN

Market Manager, Beauty care

Aurélie BRUNEL

Market Manager, Beauty care

Audrey POUJADE-FAURESSE

Active Product Manager, Beauty care

Juanshu SHEN

Polymer Product Manager

Courtney CLAY

Polymers Product Manager

As the next big opportunities are lying in the sexual wellness sector, skincare inspired products for intimate care are taking over. This neglected category is now blooming with all sorts of new formats for boosting vagina wellbeing and women self confidence : serums, creams, glitters, pubic hair oil, lipsticks, sheet  masks … with different claims like firming, whitening, etc.
Not only addressed to women, intimate care for men is also on the menu with a few new area-specific products like male intimate cleansers.

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