Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is a synthetic polymer that is used in cosmetics and personal care products as a film-forming agent, thickener, texture enhancer, and emulsion stabilizer.
Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is a synthetic polymer, which means it is a large molecule composed of many repeated subunits. Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are widely used to formulate cosmetic products, as well as in numerous other industries. They are created through polymerization of many small molecules, known as monomers. For instance, this ingredient is made up of ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate and vinylpyrrolidone monomers. The large molecular mass of polymers relative to small molecule compounds produces unique physical properties, such as toughness and viscoelasticity.
Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is produced by a company called Clariant under the name Aristoflex® AVC. It exists as a white powder.
In cosmetics and personal care products, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer functions as a film-forming agent, thickener, texture enhancer, and emulsion stabilizer. It is used at concentrations between 0.5 to 1.2%. This ingredient is said to work over a wide pH range, however, since ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is an ammonium salt, a pH higher than 9.0 will release ammonia. Furthermore, use in products intended to have a pH lower than pH 4.0 may lead to acidic cleavage of the polymer on prolonged storage. This may result in loss of viscosity.
Hydrophobically-modified derivatives of acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymers were introduced as polymeric emulsifiers that could emulsify and thicken reliably at the natural pH of the skin’s acid mantle, which is typically between 4 and 6. Another advantage is their use for moisturizing lotions that can be applied in the shower to spread and cover the skin with an occlusive oil-layer for prolonged moisturization. Thus, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer can be classified as a film-forming polymer.
Since ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is a high-molecular weight polymer, it has the ability to increase the viscosity of a product. The term viscosity corresponds to the concept of “thickness”, for example, honey has a higher viscosity than water. Many products are prepared using water based formulations, and are typically low in viscosity. This is where ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer can be added to thicken the product. It is used as a gelling agent for aqueous systems and as a texturizer and thickener for oil-in-water emulsions.
As a texture enhancer, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer provides a fresh and light skin feel to formulation without making the formula tacky or sticky. It is ideal for cream gels and aftershave products with melting sensorics, i.e. in suncare and men’s care. After application, this ingredient should produce a very smooth, velvety feel.
Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer also functions as an emulsion stabilizer. It provides superior stability even in the absence of additional emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are typically added to formulations 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. Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer helps to stabilize the emulsion to prevent the two phases from separating. This improves the consistency of a product, which enables an even distribution of topical skin care benefits.
The safety of ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer, as well as 22 other acryloyldimethyltaurate polymers, has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. In animal studies, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer was not found to be a dermal irritant, nor did it cause sensitization. The Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer was safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to be non-irritating.
Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp copolymer is also an EO (ethylene oxide) free ingredient. Thus, there is no concern for 1,4-dioxane (a byproduct of ethoxylation that may be carcinogenic) with this ingredient.
References: Wikipedia, “Polymer”, Clariant, “Aristoflex AVC”, American Chemical Society, “The Role of Polymers in Cosmetics: Recent Trends” 2007, American Chemical Society, “Polymers for Personal Care and Cosmetics: Overview”, 2013, Cosmetic Ingredient Review, “Safety Assessment of Acryloyldimethyltaurate Polymers as Used in Cosmetics”, 2016.