May 23, 2024

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene: A Versatile Ingredient in Skincare Formulations

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene: An overview of its uses and properties

What is it?

Hydrogenated polyisobutene (HPBI) is a synthetic polymer that is used in a wide variety of personal care products and cosmetics. Also known as polybutene, it belongs to the class of materials known as alkyl polyglucosides which are produced through the hydrogenation of polyisobutene.

Chemical and Physical Properties

As a hydrocarbon polymer, HPBI is non-ionic, non-toxic and non-irritating to skin. It has excellent moisture retention properties and forms a thin, invisible film on the skin when applied. HPBI has good oxidative stability and is resistant to rancidity. Its viscosity ranges from liquid to solid/waxy depending on the molecular weight, with higher molecular weight grades having higher melting points. Commonly used in cosmetics are the liquid grades that melt at below room temperature.

Uses in Cosmetics and Personal Care

Due to its hydrating and film-forming properties, HPBI is widely used as an emollient in skin creams, lotions and hydrating serums. It helps soften and smooth skin without feeling greasy. Some key uses are:

– Moisturizer: HPBI improves moisture retention in the skin and prevents transepidermal water loss. This makes it a popular ingredient in body lotions and facial moisturizers.

– Makeup bases: As a non-greasy emollient, HPBI is used as a base for foundations, tinted moisturizers and other color cosmetics. It gives a smooth, streak-free application.

– Lip products: HPBI is added to lip balms, lip glosses and lipsticks to keep lips soft and prevent dryness.

– Sunscreens: The film-forming properties of HPBI help sunscreen formulas cling to skin and don’t rub off easily.

– Shaving creams: Helps condition skin and forms a protective layer during shaving.

– Baby care: Commonly found in baby lotions, creams and diaper rash ointments due to its gentle, hypoallergenic nature.

Influence of Molecular Structure

The molecular structure of Hydrogenated Polyisobutene impacts its properties in formulations. Higher molecular weight grades have:

– Increased binding/film-forming ability leading to better spreadability and clinging effects on skin.

– Higher melting points making them suitable for solid/waxy carrier bases at room temperature like lip balms and bars of soap.

– More effective sweat and sebum absorption for oil control.

Lower molecular weight HPBI varieties are preferably liquid at room temperature:

– They have better emolliency and are easily absorbed into skin without leaving a residue.

– Suitable for lightweight lotions, serum and facial moisturizers requiring a non-oily feel.

Selection Factors

When formulating products, some key factors to consider in selecting the appropriate HPBI include:

– End use of product (e.g. face vs. body, makeup vs. sunscreen etc.)

– Desired texture and feel (thick/waxy or light/nonlicky)

– Additional functions required (emolliency, film forming, oil absorption etc.)

– Compatibility with other ingredients especially active principles

– Regulatory limitations around certain grades or processing methods

Safety and Regulatory Status

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is generally recognized as safe by global regulatory agencies like the FDA and EUCC when used in specified quantities. Toxicological tests show it to have very low cell toxicity and irritation potential. Some processing methods like excessive hydrogenation may produce harmful byproducts, so certified cosmetic grades sourced from reputable manufacturers are recommended. No restricted allergens, and suitable for vegan and natural personal care products.

In conclusion, HPBI is a multipurpose and gentle emollient ester well-suited for a wide range of skin and hair applications. Available in different grades catering to diverse formulation needs, it enhances both sensory and performance characteristics of topical products. Hydrogenated polyisobutene is likely to remain a popular and reliable emulsifying and moisturizing ingredient choice for the beauty industry.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it