Hydrogenated Polyisobutene: A Widely Used Additive in Cosmetics
Hydrogenated polyisobutene (INCI: Polyisobutene) is a synthetic polymer that is commonly used as a viscosity increasing agent and stabilizer in cosmetic products like skin creams, lotions and hair conditioners. Let’s look deeper into what hydrogenated polyisobutene is, its functions and safety.
Composition and Production
Hydrogenated polyisobutene is produced by the polymerization of isobutene, followed by hydrogenation of the resulting polyisobutene. It is a mixture of linear, saturated hydrocarbons that contain repeating units of isobutylene monomers. The polymerization and hydrogenation process allows manufacturers to control the molecular weight and other properties. Hydrogenated polyisobutene is mainly composed of carbon and hydrogen with a melting point between 50-100°C depending on the molecular weight.
Key Functions in Cosmetics
- Viscosity Increasing Agent: Hydrogenated polyisobutene is commonly added to cosmetic creams and lotions to increase viscosity without significantly affecting transparency. As a non-ionic polymer, it evenly disperses within aqueous and oil phases to provide a silky feel. Creams and lotions containing hydrogenated polyisobutene have a rich and luxurious consistency without feeling too heavy.
- Emollient: By nature of its chemical structure, hydrogenated polyisobutene acts as an emollient to hydrate and soften skin. It penetrates into the skin providing a slight lubricating effect. Emollient polymers like hydrogenated polyisobutene help improve skin barrier function and reduce moisture loss from skin.
- Product Stabilizer: Another important function is acting as a stabilizer. Hydrogenated polyisobutene forms a thin protective film on water droplets within emulsions to prevent separation. It helps maintain long term stability of emulsified cosmetic products without compromising aesthetics.
Safety and Regulatio
- Generally Recognized as Safe: Hydrogenated polyisobutene is listed on the FDA’s inventory of cosmetic ingredients and designated as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in cosmetics up to 10%. Extensive safety studies prove it to have very low oral and dermal toxicity. No significant adverse effects have been reported from typical use concentrations.
- International Regulations: This polymer additive complies with international cosmetic ingredient standards set by the EU, Japan, Brazil and other regulatory bodies. Hydrogenated polyisobutene is permitted for use in cosmetics and personal care products worldwide under prescribed conditions of good manufacturing practices.
Multiple Functions Make it Widely Versatile
Due to its multiple functional advantages, hydrogenated polyisobutene has become a predominant cosmetic ingredient. Some key areas where it delivers value include:
- Skin Care Formulations: Nearly all skin creams, lotions and moisturizers contain hydrogenated polyisobutene to provide a silky emollient application as well as maintain long term emulsion stability. It improves both cosmetic qualities and performance longevity of skin care products.
- Hair Conditioners: As an efficient thickening agent with lubricating ability, hydrogenated polyisobutene is a chief component of hair conditioners. It coats hair strands improving texture and feel while ensuring the conditioner has a rich consistency.
- Sunscreens: Both chemical and mineral based sunscreens utilize hydrogenated polyisobutene as a thickener and emulsion stabilizer. It forms a protective film on skin long after application, helping sunscreens stay intact over several hours.
- Makeup Base Formulations: This natural derived polymer is found abundantly in makeup primers, foundations and tinted moisturizers where it smooths out skin’s surface for flawless makeup application as well as wear.
Continued Safe Use and Innovation
Toxicological research is continuously conducted to ensure safe cosmetic usage of hydrogenated polyisobutene. Manufacturers constantly innovate molecular engineering techniques allowing the production of specialized lower molecular weight variants with improved functionality like superior spreading and absorption properties. Adhering to safety standards and sustainable sourcing practices, hydrogenated polyisobutene will likely retain its position as an eminent cosmetic adjuvant well into the future.
Versatile, efficient and backed by comprehensive research, hydrogenated polyisobutene has attained universal acceptance as an indispensable ingredient across cosmetic categories. Its multiple attributes of viscosity enhancement, emulsion stabilization and moisturization lend tremendous value, versatility and performance benefits to products. Further research and responsible development will continue supporting hydrogenated polyisobutene’s safe, effective and innovative usage in cosmetics for many years to come.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it