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* A series of synthetic polymers primarily made from acrylic acid. The come in the form of white, fluffy powders.
Carbomers are thickening agents that help control the viscosity and flow of cosmetic products. They also help distribute and suspend insoluble solids into liquid, and prevent the oil and liquid parts of a solution from separating. They have the ability to absorb and retain water, and can swell up to 1000 times their original volume when dispersed in water. Generally, this class of ingredients is used in gel-like formulations because it forms a colloidal, mucilage-like consistency when mixed in water. On a cosmetic ingredient list, the name carbomer is sometimes associated with a number such as 910, 934, 940, 941 and 934P. These numbers simply represent the specific molecular weight and compositions of the polymer. This ingredient is contained in a wide range of personal care products such as styling gel, facial moisturizer, sunscreen, shampoo, anti-aging treatment, eye cream, cleanser and scrubs.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has assessed this ingredient as safe to use in cosmetic products. In reviewing acute oral and dermal studies, they determined that carbomers have a low potential for phototoxicity, photo-contact allergenicity, skin irritation and sensitization at concentrations up to 100%.
Recommended Products w/ carbomer:
Derma Radiant Ageless Eyes ($39), Anthony Logistic After Shave Balm ($19.50), Bioelements Moisture x10 ($39)