Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is a synthetic ingredient used as a thickening agent, texture enhancer, film-forming agent, and emulsifier in cosmetics and personal care products.
Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is a co-polymer of several ingredients. Polymers are formed from large chains of monomers, which are molecules that can bind to each other. The formation of acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer occurs when C10-30 acrylate is combined with monomers of acrylic acid and methacrylic acid. The dry form of acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer exists as a fluffy, white powder with a slight acetic odor.
Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is similar to the Carbomer polymers, which are also commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products. However, Carbomers are polymers consisting purely of acrylic acid monomers, while acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is comprised of a mixture of acrylic acid and methacrylic acid.
In cosmetics and personal care products, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer functions as a thickening agent, texture enhancer, film-forming agent, and an emulsifier.
Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer functions as a thickening agent based on its ability to increase the viscosity of a formulation. In dry form, the polymer molecules are coiled and provide relatively little suspension and viscosity. However, upon addition to an aqueous system, the molecules ionize and expand due to charge repulsion, and provide suspending and thickening properties.
In gels and emulsions, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer functions as a texture enhancer by contributing to a smooth, glossy appearance. Furthermore, the polymer imparts a light, cushiony feel in applications, helping to promote an enhanced tactile experience in use. In creams and lotions, the polymer can be used for co-emulsification. Hair care products formulated with acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer provide the user with improved wet combing.
As an emulsifier, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is useful for products that contain both water and oil components. When water and oil are mixed together and vigorously shaken, a dispersion of oil droplets in water – and vice versa – is formed. When shaking stops, however, the two phases start to separate. An emulsifier like acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer can be added to the system to help the droplets remain dispersed. The hydrophobic portion of the polymer adsorbs at the oil-water interface, and the hydrophilic portion swells in the water, forming a gel network around the oil droplets to stabilize the emulsion. This improves the consistency of a product, which enables an even distribution of topical skin care benefits
Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer maintains its integrity in the presence of electrolytes, which enables it to be formulated with a wide range of active ingredients and additives. Furthermore, the polymer delivers effective performance across a broad pH range, with greatest viscosity efficiency at pH 5.0. You’ll find acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer in a wide variety of skin and hair care products, such as moisturizers, cleansers, sunscreen, hair dye, styling gel, and more.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel assessed the safety of 23 crosslinked alkyl acrylates as used in cosmetics, including acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer. The Panel reviewed available animal and clinical data, as well as information from previous CIR reports on monomer components. In the CIR Safety Assessment, numerous studies examined the effects of acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer in concentrations as high as 30%. None of these studies indicated any level of irritation.
The Panel concluded that crosslinked alkyl acrylates are safe in the present practices of use and concentration, provided that they are not polymerized in benzene. This is because benzene is highly carcinogenic, toxic, environmentally hazardous and is an irritant. It is recommended that total benzene content not exceed 0.5% of a product’s weight.
According to EWG, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer is rated as a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest risk to health and 10 being the highest.
References: LeafTV, “What Is an Acrylate Crosspolymer?”, Cosmetics and Toiletries Manufacture Worldwide, “More than rheology: multi-functional polymers with superior aesthetics in hair care applications”, 2006, Lubrizol, “Pemulen™ Polymeric Emulsifiers”, EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, “Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer”, Cosmetic Ingredient Review, “Final Safety Assessment: Crosslinked Alkyl Acrylates as Used in Cosmetics”, 2011.