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Eucerit is the first water-in-oil emulsifier that was available in large quantities and cheaply for industrial production. Chemically, they are purified wool wax alcohols, a mixture of aliphatic alcohols ( alkanols with chain lengths from C 18 to C 20 , diols with chain lengths from C 16 to C 26 ) and sterols . The cholesterol content is at least 30%. The mixture of substances was first obtained in 1900 by the chemist Isaac Lifschütz from the wool wax of sheep ; he called it "Eucerit" ( Greek for beautiful wax ).

Eucerit is a light yellow, waxy, brittle substance. It is insoluble in water and cannot absorb water itself, but rather gives hydrocarbons a high water absorption capacity when added to them. Wool wax alcohols are obtained by alkaline saponification of wool wax; Unsaponifiable parts are then removed by extraction with an organic solvent.

Eucerit was marketed from 1903. In 1911, Oscar Troplowitz acquired the patent rights for Beiersdorf for a "process for the production of highly water-absorbent ointment bases" : the combination of Eucerit and paraffins resulted in the ointment base Eucerin , in which large amounts of water could be incorporated and which therefore became the basis of an all-purpose cream. Within just a few months, Troplowitz, Lifschütz and dermatologist Paul Gerson Unna developed a cream that they named Nivea because of its snow-white appearance . Nivea was launched in December of the same year. The recipe has remained almost unchanged since the early days: water , alkanes , glycerine , dexpanthenol , citric acid , fragrances and, as an essential component, the emulsifier Eucerit.

Nivea, Eucerin and Eucerit are now registered trademarks of the Beiersdorf company.

Individual evidence

  1. K. Hardtke et al. (Ed.): Commentary on the European Pharmacopoeia Ph. Eur. 5.0, wool wax alcohols. Loose-leaf collection, 24th delivery 2006, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart.