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Sodium Polyacrylate

* A thickener

* Also known as acrylic sodium salt polymer, or ASAP


Sodium Polyacrylate is a synthetic polymer used in cosmetics and personal care products in part because of its ability to absorb as much as 200 to 300 times its mass in water, according to Wikipedia. It is seen as a white powder when dry, but turns into a gel-like substance when wet, and is primarily used as a thickening agent. Sodium Polyacrylate is also used in a variety of formulas because of its other properties, including as an absorbing agent, emulsion stabilizer, film former, emollient, and viscosity increasing agent. Sodium Polyacrylate is also used as a sequestering agent in cleansers and detergents because of its ability to bind to hard water elements like calcium and magnesium, allowing the surfactants to work more effectively ( and Cosmetics Database).

Sodium Polyacrylate has received FDA approval and is classified as GRAS, or Generally Recognized as Safe. It is also CIR approved for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

According to the Cosmetics Database, Sodium Polyacrylate is considered a moderate hazard ingredient, primarily due to contamination concerns. This ingredient can contain methacrylic acid, acrylic acid or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, known toxins that can be formed during its synthetic processing. It is also classified as "expected to be toxic or harmful" because of potential organ system toxicity effects, according to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List.

Seen as an ingredient in absorbing products such as diapers and tampons, Sodium Polyacrylate can potentially cause biological growths that can negatively affect the health of the user, specifically in tampon use, which may lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Changing tampons often can prevent this side effect.

According to the MSDS for Sodium Polyacrylate, it can be irritating to the eyes, but is not considered an irritant or sensitizer.

Recommended Products w/ Sodium Polyacrylate:

BeFine Food Skin Care Eye Blossom, Guinot Tres Homme Longue Vie Homme, Lancster’s Sunslim, Aveeno Ultra-Calming Night Cream, Dermaheal Redesign Miracle Serum
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