Lecithin, also known as phosphatidylcholine, is one of the building blocks of cell membranes in our bodies. It is found mainly in egg yolks and soy but can also be synthesized by plants. Lecithin is a fatty substance with skin-softening and moisturizing properties. It also has emulsifying, wetting, and stabilizing properties.
1. It Helps Repair Damage
Soy lecithin is a natural emulsifier that can help soften your hair and add moisture to the scalp. It is found in many cosmetic products, including shampoos and conditioners. It can also be found in a number of foods, like chocolate and soups.
It is derived from soybean oil and is extracted from the raw soybeans through a process called degumming. This process uses a chemical solvent, such as hexane, to separate the lecithin from the soybean. The remaining hexane residue is then removed through another process, leaving behind an incredibly small amount of the chemical.
Some people are concerned that the chemical solvents used in the manufacturing process for soy lecithin may be dangerous to your health. But it is important to note that the concentrations of hexane in the final product are low, and the FDA has not found hexane toxic.
Soy lecithin can be a good option for those with dry skin conditions, such as psoriasis and neurodermatitis. It helps the skin retain moisture and provides a protective barrier, preventing further irritation. It can also be helpful for those with acne, as it helps to reduce comedones and improve the skin’s linoleic acid content.
Those with sensitive skin or scalps should avoid soy lecithin unless labeled “organic.” It can also be contaminated with pesticides, and this can cause allergies in those with sensitivities. Thankfully, the allergen levels in soy lecithin are generally small and only make up about 1% of processed foods.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln notes that the majority of the protein found in soy lecithin is removed during the manufacturing process, which means that it does not contain enough protein to provoke allergic reactions. This is a great benefit for those with soy allergy concerns.
One thing to keep in mind is that soy lecithin can be a potential source of goitrogens, which can interfere with thyroid function in people who are not otherwise exposed to them. Goitrogens can be a serious health concern for some, especially women with hormone-related diseases, as they can disrupt the proper function of hormones in the body.
2. It Helps Keep Your Hair Healthy
Lecithin is a fatty substance containing choline and inositol, which are important nutrients for healthy hair growth. Both plants and animals synthesize it.
It is found in a variety of foods and can be taken as a supplement. It is also used in many cosmetic and beauty products.
Soy lecithin is a common ingredient in many shampoos and conditioners. It can be a great hair moisturizer and helps keep your hair soft, shiny, and manageable.
According to Nick Dindio, cosmetic chemist and director of research and development for SOS Beauty, it’s an “amphipathic emulsifier” that can help water- and oil-based ingredients blend and stay together. It’s a gentle alternative to harsher emulsifiers like sodium lauryl sulfate.
Moreover, it can prevent the breakdown of water-based ingredients, making them less likely to strip or dry out the skin. It is especially beneficial for sensitive skin.
It can also help control the viscosity of liquids and improve the texture of some cosmetic products. It also helps prevent the formation of tackiness and can help products last longer on the shelf.
Soy lecithin can be derived from soybeans, egg yolks, and plant oils. It is extracted chemically or mechanically using hexane, ethanol, acetone, or petroleum ether solvents.
An emulsifier can form liposomes, bilayer sheets, micelles, or lamellar structures depending on how much it is hydrated. It can also be used as a stabilizer or anti-sticking agent in non-stick cooking sprays.
Its high concentration of fatty acids provides a protective barrier to the hair and scalp that effectively captures and seals in moisture, allowing your hair and scalp to remain healthy and strong.
This makes it a great option for those with dry and brittle hair, as well as those who use styling and chemical treatments on a regular basis. It can also help reduce the amount of frizz and breakage caused by heat or chemicals.
In addition to preventing breakage, lecithin promotes hair growth by helping absorb proteins needed for new hair growth. It can also add shine and luster to hair, as it uses its high concentration of fatty acids to create a barrier that helps retain moisture.
3. It Helps Soften Your Hair
When used as an emollient, soy lecithin can help to soften your hair by adding a layer of moisture. This can make it easier for your hair to retain the nutrients that are needed to keep it healthy and strong, making it less likely to break or fall out.
It also helps to prevent split ends since it can help smooth out the scalp and hair fibers. This can be especially useful for those with drier or damaged strands.
Soy lecithin is a common ingredient in many skin and hair care products, from shampoos and conditioners to styling products. It is often added to formulas to create a rich, creamy lather that feels luxurious as it works its way into the hair and scalp.
The benefits of soy lecithin are endless, but one of the most common reasons it is added to cosmetic and skin care products is its emollient properties. Soy lecithin can help soften the skin by reducing inflammation, a major cause of dryness.
Lecithin also helps to increase the moisture content of the skin. This is because of its fatty acids, which are a type of waxy substance that makes up the outer layers of the skin and protects it from the elements.
These fatty acids can last long because the body does not easily break them down. This means they can provide long-lasting hydration without causing excess oiliness or clogging pores.
In addition, soy lecithin can help improve the texture of your hair by helping to add a bit of sheen. It can also help reduce frizz and flyaways by acting as a shield for your hair, protecting it from environmental damage and heat.
Soy lecithin can be found in many different forms, but the most common is a powdered extract that you can purchase online. It can be added to many types of products, including skincare and makeup, and is commonly found in dietary supplements as well. It is most popularly derived from soybeans but can also be extracted from egg yolks and sunflower seeds.
4. It Helps Keep Your Scalp Healthy
Soy lecithin is a common ingredient in many foods and is often used as an emulsifier, lubricant, and surfactant. It is also used as a dietary supplement to help promote brain health, lower cholesterol levels and prevent gallstones.
It is also commonly used in cosmetics and skincare products. In particular, it helps moisturize and soothe dry skin and reduce flakiness.
In fact, it is a good source of linoleic acid, which has both moisturizing and emollient properties. It can also improve your skin’s elasticity and suppleness, which will keep your hair looking great.
This natural ingredient can be found in many nourishing hair and scalp treatments that will leave your hair healthy and beautiful. Some of the most popular include:
Panthenol – a form of vitamin B5, is an excellent humectant and emollient. It penetrates the scalp and hair shaft to increase moisture, stimulate cell renewal, and seal essential nutrients.
Hydrolyzed soy protein – this nutrient-rich ingredient is an ideal conditioning treatment that improves the strength and softness of your hair, leaving it healthier, stronger, and more resilient.
As a bonus, soy lecithin is a good source of antioxidants and fatty acids that help strengthen the scalp, prevent breakage, and soften the hair. It can also help protect the strands from environmental factors that may contribute to dandruff or other problems.
However, this ingredient is not without its risks and side effects, so you should be aware of what it does and how to use it safely before making any decisions. For instance, some people are concerned about soy lecithin being derived from genetically modified soybeans, and the chemical solvents that are often used to extract the emulsifier from the soybeans can contain harmful chemicals.
Another important consideration is the purity of the water manufacturers use to obtain the emulsion. For example, if the water is hard or contains calcium and magnesium ions, it can cause the cephalin component of soy lecithin to clump, forming tiny balls in the final product.
Soy lecithin is a safe ingredient that can benefit your health, especially if you can find a product that is free of GMOs and chemicals. You should also be sure to read the label to avoid any unwanted additives or binders.