Impact of the State of Water on the Dispersion Stability of a Skin Cream Formulation Elucidated by Magnetic Resonance Techniques
This study investigated the relationship between the state of water and the dispersion stability of a skin cream formulation. Hydrophilic ointments treated with a high-pressure wet-type jet mill were used as model formulations. Spin–lattice relaxation times (T1) were measured by magnetic resonance techniques to estimate the state of water in samples. A shorter T1 relaxation time was obtained from samples with higher surfactant content, whereas the processing pressure of the jet mill and 1-week storage at 40 °C did not influence the T1 relaxation time. Observations using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that coalescence occurred in samples with lower surfactant contents (1.0% by weight) following 1-week storage at 40 °C. We also investigated samples prepared using a hydrophilic surfactant with a short polyethylene glycol (PEG) chain and with PEG-4000. From the change in T1 relaxation times after removing the oil phase from samples by centrifugation, it was clarified that most of the surfactant was located on the surface of oil droplets. Furthermore, SEM observations showed that phase separation was facilitated as the PEG chain length of the surfactant shortened. Thus, a thin water layer over oil droplets is the most important factor for stabilizing their dispersion. This study provides proof-of-principle results on the contribution of the state of water to the dispersion stability of a skin cream formulation.