Polysorbate represents a group of emulsifiers used in pharmaceuticals, food preparation, and beauty and personal care products. An emulsifier is a substance that allows two or more liquids that are typically immiscible (unblendable) to combine. Polysorbates are oily liquids that consist of sorbitan and fatty acids. They are formed by producing reactions of polyol and sorbitol with ethylene oxide.
Several common types of polysorbate exist: Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 21, Polysorbate 40, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 61, and Polysorbate 80, among others. The number following Polysorbate" represents the type of fatty acid associated with the polyoxyethylene sorbitan part of the molecule. Specifically