For a long time, food manufacturers have added hydrocolloids such as xanthan gum, pectin, carrageenan or Gellan Gum to give salad dressings, jams, ice creams, and other foods their characteristic textures. Hydrocolloids are substances that alter the flow properties, or rheology, of aqueous solutions in which they are dispersed. But now these food ingredients have been found an application in the personal care industry, where they often replace synthetic chemicals with similar properties. Driven by consumers’ thirst for “all-natural” products, many manufacturers are trying to leverage the long history of hydrocolloids in the food industry for personal care applications.
Gellan Gum used in personal care products:
Gellan Gum makes a salad dressing feel rich and creamy can impart similar characteristics to a moisturizer or body lotion. There isn’t that much difference between salad dressing and facial moisturizer. So Gellan Gum also appears in the ingredients lists of many lotions, creams, hair care products, shower gels, sunscreens, toothpastes, antiperspirants/deodorants, and cosmetics.
Gellan gum and other hydrocolloids functions:
When added to water, Gellan Gum disperse evenly as microscopic particles. At sufficiently high concentrations, the polymers become entangled with each other, forming loose networks that change the flow and spread properties of solutions.
Many hydrocolloids, such as gelatin and pectin, can form gels by hydrogen bonding within and between polymers. The structure, charge, and concentration of a hydrocolloid and its interactions with other ingredients determine the rheology of the solution.
In addition to acting as rheology modifiers, Gellan Gum serve other functions in personal care products. By surrounding oil droplets in oil-in-water emulsions, gellan gum can prevent the droplets from coalescing.
This droplet stabilization helps prevent products from separating, settling, or clinging to their container and improves their heat resistance.
Some amphiphilic hydrocolloids, such as acrylate copolymers, can actually penetrate the oil-water interface of a droplet. By reducing the interfacial tension, amphiphilic hydrocolloids can make it easier to produce small oil droplets in an aqueous solution.
Another important function of gellan gum is thixotropic behavior. Reducing thixotropy is very important for sunscreens, because when you apply sunscreen to your skin, the formulation breaks down immediately,If the structure is not able to recover very quickly, then the sunscreen will flow into your wrinkles, and your skin will not be completely protected.Hydrocolloids help the sunscreen emulsion recover its structure after application, allowing uniform and long-lasting protection from the sun.
Gellan gum and other Hydrocolloids allow your toothpaste to be extruded from the tube with a lovely shape and stay on your brush. Hydrocolloids can help suspend millimeter-sized particulates, such as luffa sponges or plastic beads, in exfoliating cleansers, or enhance a cleanser’s foaming action. They also contribute to the “skin feel” of a cream or lotion—whether the product feels rich, creamy, sticky, slippery, or stringy when applied to the skin. Some hydrocolloids used in moisturizers form films on the skin surface. When the product dries down, the hydrocolloid leaves a film that inhibits the evaporation of moisture from the skin.
Hair is in one of its most vulnerable states when it’s wet, and using hydrocolloids is a great way to provide the lubrication that helps keep hair protected from breakage during washing and wet combing.
Gellan Gum and other Hydrocollloids sources:
Common synthetic hydrocolloids are acrylic acid polymers, also known as carbomers. Natural hydrocolloids are derived from plant (pectin, carrageenan, cellulose gum, locust bean gum), animal (gelatin), or microbial (xanthan gum, gellan gum) sources.
“If you”ve ever had old cabbage in your refrigerator that gets a bit slimy, there’s actually a bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris, that consumes the natural sugar of the cabbage and produces a protective gum, which is in essence xanthan gum,” campestris on an industrial scale. They then purify and further process the xanthan gum into special grades that impart specific rheological properties.
Some chemical manufacturers have combined science with nature to generate semisynthetic hydrocolloids. For example, chemists produce cellulose gum by adding carboxymethyl groups to the backbone of cellulose, a polysaccharide derived from wood pulp or cotton. The carboxymethyl group imparts a negative charge to cellulose and makes it water soluble. Specific modifications to the cellulose backbone influence the rheology and thixotropy of the solution.
Synthetic hydrocolloids offer certain advantages over their natural counterparts, such as increased potency, resistance to microbial degradation, and solution clarity. However, many manufacturers of personal care products are trying to replace synthetic hydrocolloids with natural ones in order to satisfy consumer demand.
“There’s a trend in the personal care industry to move away from the more chemical-sounding products to food ingredients that are more familiar to the consumer”.