We’ve recently added a new natural thickener and emulsifier to our catalogue: Carrageenan Gum!
What is Carrageenan Gum? What are it’s benefits in skincare?
According to Skincare Lab, Carrageenan is “derived from Chondrus crispus, a species of red seaweed commonly called Irish moss. You’ll find this ingredient in skin care products and food. You’ll find carrageenan in foods such as yogurt, salad dressing, pudding, sauces, and ice cream. It’s a thickener and an emulsifier. It helps improve product texture and helps water-based and oil-based ingredients blend better.”
Annmarie also states that carrageenan “isn’t exactly Irish moss, though. Rather, it’s an extract from the plant, an isolated polysaccharide that’s used as a thickener and emulsifier” in foods and personal care products.
✔️ keeps oil and water-soluble ingredients from separating, making the overall product more stable.
✔️ provides skin care products with a luxurious, smooth, creamy texture.
✔️ helps hold water onto the skin and hair, increasing hydration and keeping both supple/lush and moisturized.
Hold up! Some people say Carrageenan is bad?!
As Gloves in a Bottle writes, “it’s always important that research is done on ingredients so that we know what we are using is safe for us.” Thus, rest assured as the form of carrageenan (called poligeenan a.k.a. degraded carrageenan) used in a 1997 study is actually one not approved by the FDA. It is a synthetic carrageenan “made by subjecting seaweed to intense temperatures and then boiling it in acid” and not the food-safe and/or cosmetic grade one we’re writing about in this blog post.
Carrageenan is on the FDA safe list and is considered safe for babies too. So, no worries! Carrageenan is safe for you and to be used in skincare.
If you’re worried about carrageenan potentially clogging your pores and causing acne because seaweed ingredients are commonly noted as bad for acne, remember, everyone’s skin is different. Plus, there hasn’t been much proven or disproven research that shows the link between seaweed ingredients. Though, a 2019 study has mentioned that the “biologically active components present in the seaweeds paves the way to be used as an active ingredient in the cosmetic industries due to their potent skin protection ability. The active components from the seaweeds could be used as an antioxidant, antibacterial whitening agent, anti-aging, and anti-acne, and also for moisturization in cosmetic industries.”
Ok, so how do we use Carrageenan Gum?
As a thickener, carrageenan can increase the viscosity of a formulation, making it less watery and more creamy. As an emulsifier, it helps to combine the oil phase and water phase of your formulation and keep them from separating.
The amount of carrageenan gum to be used in a formulation should be 0.3% to 1.5%. You can turn carrageenan gum into a slurry by mixing it with glycerin before adding it to the water phase of your formulation and blending them together.
Want to know more about DIY Personal Care? Check these posts out!
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The Difference Between Natural and Organic Products
Get to Know: Cosmetic Irritants, Allergens & Comedogens
Get to Know: Preservatives in Cosmetics
About “Free From” Claims on Personal Care Products
Are Your Personal Care Products REALLY Organic?
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