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Formulating with Electrolyte Resistant Polymers: Quick Tips

Belinda Carli – Aug 31, 2016

formulating with electrolyte resistant polymersThickening agents are used to adjust the viscosity of skin care formulations to make them easy to use and to maintain the product stability. For example, they are used to ensure the stability of milky lotions and liquid foundations by preventing the separation of emulsified particles and powders.

Electrolytes in Cosmetics


Most of the skin care formulations claim to be moisturizing, repairing, protecting, whitening, anti-aging, etc. The ingredients used to achieve these claims are often electrolytic in nature. Common examples include:

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)
  • Sodium Chloride
  • L-ascorbic acid magnesium phosphate
  • Sodium pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (NaPCA)
  • Zinc PCA
  • Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid (PBSA)

These ingredients have a negative effect on the viscosity, texture and stability of a formulation. The incorporation of these ingredients results in incompatibilities by modifying interactions between charges on the polymer chains. This greatly affects the shape and size of the polymer coil, and hence the solution viscosity.

Formulation Challenge


Today, one of the biggest challenges faced by a formulator is electrolyte resistance. Maintaining the stability and rheology properties with enhanced aesthetics (like texture) of these formulations containing high electrolytic components can be difficult.

To know more about thickening, watch this video by Belinda Carli, the Director of the Institute of Personal Care Science. Here, she shares quick tips to formulate with electrolytic resistant polymers available in market and practical guidance to overcome the challenges associated with them.



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