Native to the Philippines and Southeastern Asia, the Mandarin Orange tree (Citrus Reticulata) is widely grown throughout China, the East Indies, Japan, and India. The Mandarin is known by many names including Clementine, Satsuma, Tangerine, Owari, and Tangor. Having arrived in Europe and America in the early 1800s, this fruit is now grown in many other countries that can offer the proper growing conditions. In particular, it is grown in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, California, Georgia, and Texas. Mexico is noted for supplying excessive amounts of Mandarins, influencing the price greatly. Some of these varieties may involve a cross between a different citrus fruit and the Mandarin orange itself.
A small, perennial, citrus tree, the Citrus Reticulata produces a small orange fruit known as either tangerines or mandarins. However, over a long period of time, this particular evergreen tree can grow to a height of as much as twenty-five feet. Offering a wide span of tree limbs covered with thorns, broad leaves, and slender twigs, the tree generally produces a single white flower, although sometimes it produces a small profusion of sweet-smelling blossoms. Pollination occurs through the presence and activity of bees. The fruit is easily recognizable by its tender, juicy, red-orange flesh and its easily peeled, bright orange skin. It takes anywhere from six to ten months for the fruit to ripen sufficiently for harvest, with fruit located on the outer branches ripening more quickly than fruit on the interior of the tree.
Cocamide betaine is a synthetic compound produced by combining cocamide and glycine betaine. Cocamide is derived from the fatty acids found in coconut oil. Betaine is found in wheat bran, wheat germ, spinach, beets, and some seafood. Both cocamide and glycine betaine can also be derived from synthetic sources. Cocamide betaine may be found on ingredients lists under a number of different names, including cocamidopropyl betaine, coco betaine, CAB, and CAPB. All of these variations on this compound perform a very similar function.
Cocamide betaine is a mild surfactant that appears as in ingredient in a variety of skin and hair care products that are designed to be combined with water. These include soaps, bath foams, shampoos, and face washes. The mild nature of cocamide betaine makes it a popular choice with manufacturers of baby cleansing products. It can be difficult to combine oily substances with water because the molecules naturally repel one another. The molecules in cocamide betaine form a link between water and the skin care product, because one side of the molecule is attracted to water (hydrophilic) and the other to oil (lipophilic). By lowering the surface tension of the water, cocamide betaine enables skin and hair care products to produce foam or bubbles. The foaming action of cleansing products helps them to combine with dirt and grime, ensuring that the surfaces of the skin and hair are left completely clean when the product is rinsed off.
Prior to cocamide betaine being discovered, cocamide DEA was an extremely popular surfactant in hair and skin products. However, many individuals experienced irritation and allergic reactions to cocamide DEA. Cocamide betaine was developed as a solution to this issue. Although cocamide betaine is designed as a mild surfactant that should not irritate the skin, some people with sensitive skin can experience skin irritation when using cocamide betaine. Clinical tests have suggested that the skin irritation linked to cocamide betaine may be the result of impurities that arise during the manufacturing process. These impurities include irritants such as amidoamine (AA) and dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA). It is possible to control the production of these by-products during the manufacturing process, making purer forms of cocamide betaine less irritating.
Cocamide betaine also has a mild germicidal and antiseptic action, which is linked to its wide PH range. This makes it an ideal ingredient in foaming facial cleansers, facial scrubs, and exfoliants designed to tackle oily, acne-prone skin. Acne blackheads and whiteheads are formed when dirt and grime entering pores blocked with plugs of sebum and keratin. Foaming cleansers that contain the surfactant cocamide betaine are able to penetrate deep in to the pores, ensuring that even minute particles of dirt are completely removed when the product is rinsed off using water.
Cocamide betaine can also be found in cosmetics, where it is used as a thickener and emulsifying agent. In cosmetics, cocamide betaine is included as an ingredient to ensure that other oil-based and water-based ingredients combine effectively and do not separate out over time. Oil and water molecules have a natural tendency to repel each other. If separation occurs, the product may look unattractive and may not perform the desired function. Including cocamide betaine in cosmetic products helps manufacturers to increase the shelf-life of cosmetic products.
In hair conditioners, cocamide betaine has an antistatic action which prevents flyaway hair. Static can build up in hair as a result of the friction that occurs when it is brushed or combed. Static build up can be worse in hair that has become dry and dehydrated, as the surface area becomes rough. Cocamide betaine also acts as a humectant, helping hair to retain moisture as the molecules in cocamide betaine are able to form a link between the hair and water.
In hair coloring products, such as hair dye, cocamide betaine forms a useful function by binding the molecules in the colorant to the hair shaft. This gives better color retention and delivers long-lasting color to the user of the hair coloring product. This is made possible because of cocamide betaine's compatibility with other surfactants, no matter whether they are anionic, cationic, or nonionic.
Because cocamide betaine is derived from coconut oil, it can cause irritation of the skin in individuals who are allergic.