Polysorbate 20 also known as Tween 20 is a nontoxic agent used in number of skin and food products. It is formed by the ethoxylation of sorbitan before lauric acid is added. It is nonionic in nature. Mainly used in skin care industry for combining oil and water the compound is also used to get rid of suspensions. In Europe and USA it is approved chemical by EC and FDA respectively. It has a long-lasting soothing effect to skin. Due to it emulsification nature it is used to make room sprays, bath gels, hair products and creams. The compound can also be used with synthetic fragrances to create homemade room sprays.
The compound has a shelf life of 18 – 24 months and has been classified as low hazardous chemical.
The compound is sometimes also made of fruits and berries. The main hazard is irritating skin and organ toxicity latter one being very rare in occurrence. Forming homemade gels and sprays has become a bandwagon for the users. Due to ease of use polysorbate 20 is sold in massive amounts to the users. Another point of interest is that polysorbate 80 can be used in place of polysorbate 20 but the reverse will not work and should not be tried.