Kaolin (inci)

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Argilla alba; bolus alba; china clay; C.I. 77004 (INCI); E559; E 559; Kaolinum ponderosum; Terrra di Siena; White clay

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Kaolin (chin.: kao-ling=high mountain) describes a worldwide occurring white clay mineral, which belongs to the group of fine-grained silicate minerals (alumnium silicate). Kaolin is of dry consistency, can be easily ground with the fingers and then takes on the structure of fine, soft, slightly greasy flour. Kaolin has a matte, rarely pearly shine.

Kaolin is chemically indifferent, insoluble in water and organic solvents. When mixed with a little water, it produces a plastic mass that does not run.

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Emergence: Kaolin is a weathering product that is formed from silicate rocks such as granite or rhyolite. Besides kaolinite it has a high proportion of quartz and feldspar.

Use of kaolin: Industrially, kaolin plays a role primarily as a raw material in the production of white porcelain.

In the food industry kaolin is used as a release agent under the designation E 559.

In the cosmetics industry kaolin is mainly used as a base for body and face powders and in various skin care products. Colored types are yellow-brown (Terra di Siena), red (Bolus rubra) or brown (Umbra) due to iron oxides and are used as pigments. In cosmetic formulations, kaolin acts as an absorbent (absorbs water- and/or oil-soluble, dissolved or finely dispersed substances), as an anti-caking agent (as an anti-caking agent it prevents the caking of powdery cosmetic products), as an abrasive (removes impurities from the body surface, supports mechanical tooth cleaning and/or improves the shine) and as an opacifier.

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020