Hydrogenated Polyisobutene in Skin Care Products
When reading skin care product ingredient labels it’s easy to become confused by ingredients like hydrogenated polyisobutene. With all the focus on natural and organic skin care in recent decades, many consumers look for natural-sounding ingredients, such as goat’s milk, honey, oatmeal, and the like. So when a chemical like hydrogenated polyisobutene shows up, it’s difficult not to cringe from a name that sounds so synthetic and makes one think of a factory or heavy machinery. Therefore, it’s a good idea to research this chemical further before applying it to the skin, to avoid potential side effects. To help the consumer in their research, we’re including a general overview of hydrogenated polyisobutene, below.
What is Hydrogenated Polyisobutene?
There are many ingredients in skin care that have similar properties and goals. When considering hydrogenated polyisobutene, it’s helpful to look at it through the lens of mineral oil, as the former was synthesized to mimic the effects of the latter.
As such, hydrogenated polyisobutene is valued in skin care applications because of its relatively low cost and ability to temporarily improve skin texture.
How is Hydrogenated Polyisobutene Used?
Hydrogenated polyisobutene is a relatively common skin care ingredient that is used in a large variety of products, including lip balm, BB cream, exfoliants, moisturizers and much more. There are several qualities of this chemical that have made it popular with skin product manufacturers.
One of the beneficial qualities of hydrogenated polyisobutene is its ability to moisturize the skin, making it a popular ingredient in skin creams. However, its role in skin care is to reinforce the moisture barrier, rather than to deliver copious amounts of hydration. For example, hyaluronic acid is typically more effective for drawing moisture to the treatment site, and is highly valued in skin care applications. The strength of hydrogenated polyisobutene, on the other hand, comes from its ability to fortify the skin’s natural barrier to reduce moisture loss.
It is also common for hydrogenated polyisobutene to be found in water-resistant sunscreens, as this ingredient allows the sun block to remain effective even after coming into contact with water.
Additionally, hydrogenated polyisobutene is valued for its ability to prevent the clumping of pigment in makeup and other skin care products. This is a very important quality for creating a positive user experience, as it keeps the product looking fresh.
Lastly, hydrogenated polyisobutene is also used to increase the thickness of skin products, to create a more luxurious feel. This can be especially helpful in night time moisturizers, or creams that contain a variety of oils and it’s important for the formulation to stay thoroughly mixed.
Products with Hydrogenated Polyisobutene
There are many products that use hydrogenated polyisobutene as part of the formulation. For example, the Nuance Salma Hayek Tinted Moisturizer contains this chemical in addition to tocopherol, an antioxidant for skin damage repair; sodium hyaluronate and glycerin, to moisturize; lecithin, to hydrate the skin; and titanium dioxide, to provide SPF protection.
Another product with hydrogenated polyisobutene is Vichy Laboratories Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Rich Cream. This product was designed to bring ample hydration to the skin, to improve general health of skin cells and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. In addition to hydrogenated polyisobutene, this Vichy Laboratories cream contains glycerin, to moisturize the skin; citric acid, to repair skin damage and stimulate collagen; pentylene glycol, to condition the skin; caprylic triglyceride, another moisturizer; and carrageenan, a seaweed extract that draws moisture to the treatment area.
Vichy Laboratories Lift Active Eye is another product formulated with hydrogenated polyisobutene. Additionally, this serum contains ascorbyl glucoside, an antioxidant that repairs skin damage; rhamnose, a chemical that may improve communication between skin cells; and beeswax, to soften and moisturize the skin.
Those looking to diminish the appearance of skin creases on the face may come across Pur Minerals Cease Crease. This product is also formulated with hydrogenated polyisobutene, and contains other ingredients, like salicylic acid, to support pore health; titanium dioxide, to neutralize UV radiation; citric acid, for its high vitamin C content; and ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant.
Of course, these are just some of the products that contain hydrogenated polyisobutene, and the ingredient discussion above is not comprehensive. For a full understanding of any new skin care product, it’s vital to review the entire ingredient list with a dermatologist, before using in your skin care routine.
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene Side Effects
Hydrogenated polyisobutene is believed to be a relatively safe ingredient, and is not currently linked to serious diseases, like cancer. However, this chemical does have potential side effects, including skin irritation and inflammation. It is vital to carefully consider the possibility of this chemical as an irritant, as irritation can often occur without even being noticed – for example, it won’t have visible signs like a rash.
But just because irritation is not visible, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In fact, the average person may have mild inflammation of the skin and surrounding tissues, and not realize it. Such developments can cause long term problems, as inflammation has been linked to the aging process and the development of cancer. Therefore, it’s a good idea to discuss hydrogenated polyisobutene in detail with a doctor, before using products that contain this ingredient.