Emulsions - Types And Its Uses

Have you ever wondered about the cosmetics you use, what does it consist of? Most of the cosmetic products are based on the term known as emulsion. The cream and lotions that you use are cosmetic products based on emulsion. Now, we will discuss the definition of emulsion.

Emulsion is dispersion of one form of liquid into another form of liquid. Let’s consider two types of emulsions:

1) Oil in water

Let’s start with the discussion of oil dispersed in water. Here, dispersion medium is water and this kind of emulsion can be found in applications which have small quantity of fatty material like moisturizing creams. Now, let’s discuss the case of milk which also lies in this type of emulsion. Milk consists of liquid fat which gets dispersed in water. These types of emulsions are unstable and hence can be separated into two different layers when at rest. Therefore, to balance the emulsion, another component called emulsifying agent is added. This emulsifying agent enables the medium and the suspended particles to mingle. These emulsifying agents can be gum, proteins, synthetic soaps, etc.

2) Water in oil

Now, let’s discuss with water dispersed in oil. Here, dispersion medium is oil and its application can be found in butter and cream. Where do you find water in oil dispersion? We can find this in sunscreens as this type of emulsion has a higher sun protection factor and they are also better water resistant than oil in water emulsion.

Let’s differentiate between the two items to give a clear view of the two types of emulsions. Consider butter and cream, where cream is oil in water emulsion and butter is water in oil emulsion. Literally, they are the same thing but butter is an emulsion resulting from the inversion of the cream which is an oil in water emulsion.


Water in oil – Butter          Oil in water- Cream

Practise This Question

The detergent action of soap is due to its ___.