Naturally Derived Suspending Agents

J. Rettenmaier & Söhne GmbH has launched Vivapur Cos 5 and 6 microcrystalline cellulose stabilizers, a range of water-dispersible organic hydrocolloids derived from wood fibers for application as suspending agents. Distributed by Gattefossé, the products are designed to improve the heat stability of gels and emulsions, bringing structure and a soft skin feel. According to the company, the ingredients represent a natural alternative to synthetic aqueous stabilizers.

The wood fibers from which the line is derived come from hardwood trees of carefully environmentally managed forests. According to the company, the hydrolysis and drying processes used to procure the materials result in the highly arranged, microcrystalline fibers that give exceptional stabilizing power. In a controlled process, these insoluble fibers are then associated with cellulose gum to yield easy-to-use, water dispersible ingredients. Such stabilizers are already widely used in food applications to gel desserts and sauces and are now introduced in a range for personal care.

Unlike xanthan gum, these materials are reportedly not influenced by temperature. The low viscosity, 3D networks they form are said to effectively suspend particles and droplets, preventing flocculation and sedimentation, and stabilize o/w emulsions by preventing the oil droplets from coming into contact with one another. When applied to skin, the microcrystalline cellulose network is transformed by the shear, becoming more fluid and spreading with ease.

Depending on the degree of stabilization required, the suggested use level for these ingredients is between 1% and 2.5%; they are not recommended above 2.5%. If the viscosity of the emulsion is insufficient, consistency agents should be added. Finally, to ensure stability regardless of what actives are used, the company recommends associating the materials with 0.2% xanthan gum.

Gels produced using these materials are reportedly stable over a wide pH range, from 4 to above 8, which makes the ingredients suitable for many different applications, including peeling formulations. In addition, they show a higher resistance to electrolytes than polyacrylate based and synthetic thickeners. Finally, they are compatible with formulations containing up to 20% alcohol, and also with formulations containing organic and inorganic UV filters—showing particularly good resistance to salt based UV filters used in the aqueous phase of suncare emulsions.

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