Thickeners fall into four general classifications: inorganic (bentonite, magnesium aluminum silicate and silica); semi-synthetic (carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxyethylcelulose and methylcellulose); synthetic (cross-linked polyacrylic acid, acrylates/steareth-20 and PVM/MA copolymers); and natural gums or polymers (guar gum, xanthan gum and gelatin). There are deficiencies associated with each category. Inorganics and semi-synthetics usually require high levels to gain performance and are normally opaque. Synthetics are usually sensitive to electrolytes and incompatible with most cationics. Naturals are prone to bacterial attack, are temperature and pH sensitive, and have rheologies dependent upon origin. Be it an inorganic, semi-synthetic, synthetic, or naturla gum or polymer, the ideal thickener should have the following attributes: high yield value, high viscosity at low concentrations, shear thinning, rapid recovery, integrity over a large temperature range, function from pH 4 to 10, and be easy to use.
This article describes a new synthetic thickener/stabilizer technology that provides these attributes. Although there area variety of raw materials used to thicken personal care products, few are sufficiently versatile to offer effective thickening, gelling and suspending properties for a wide variety of applications. A new, unique thickener/stabilizer technology, PVM/MA decadienecrosspolymera, provides these characteristics in conjunction with exceptional clarity and stability. Performance is maintained in the presence of such adverse factors as high sear rates, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UVA) radition and the presence of divalent salts.