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Insects as an Alternative Source for the Production of Fats for Cosmetics

Journal of Cosmetic Science | Vol. 69 No. 3
Authored by Geert R. Verheyen, Tom Ooms, Liesbeth Vogels, Steven Vreysen, Ann Bovy, Sabine Van Miert, and Filip Meersman


Insects may provide an environmentally friendly way of producing high-quality bio-based materials that can be implemented for cosmetic applications. Insects can be bred on organic waste, in high numbers, and on small surfaces, therefore, making large scale industrial breeding possible. Fats from three insect species: the black soldier fly (BSF) ( Hermetia illucens ), the locust ( Locusta migratoria ), and the house cricket ( Acheta domesticus ) were evaluated for potential use in skin care. Insects were dried and fats were extracted using petroleum ether. The fats were further refined, and the fatty acid composition and the acid value were determined. The fats were used in a hand cream formulation and compared with the currently used mink-and plant-derived oils. Fatty acid analysis indicates that BSF contains >60% of lauric acid, which makes it less suitable for application in a skin-care product, whereas locust and cricket fats are rich in C16 and C18 fatty acids which makes them more suitable. Phospholipids and free fatty acid levels in the three insect species are relatively high compared with commercial, refined oils, and need to be removed by appropriate refining protocols. Odor and color also need to be removed by physical refinement to improve the applicability.

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