2 March 2024

carbopolalso called carbomer is a synthetic polymer very common and useful in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry. It is an ingredient that has the ability to form viscous and transparent gels present in many products for daily use. Keep reading and learn about all the details of this polymer.

What is carbopol for?

This polymer is obtained by the reaction of acrylic acid with a crosslinking agent. The result is a long, flexible chain that can form viscous, transparent gels when mixed with water or alcohol. Consequently, It is used to give consistency, texture and stability to various products, such as gels, creams, lotions, shampoos, toothpastes, disinfectants and medicines.

What is the function of carbopol?

The main function of carbopol is act as a thickener and gelling agent, that is, increase the viscosity and elasticity of the products in which it is incorporated. In this way, carbopol makes it possible to control the flow, appearance and sensation of substances, as well as improve their adherence and duration. In addition, it has other important functions, such as:

  • stabilize emulsions oil in water and vice versa, preventing the phases from separating.
  • Suspend the active ingredients or insoluble in products so they do not settle or clump.
  • Control the pH and the release of active ingredients in the products, optimizing their effectiveness and their security.
  • To form protective films on the skin or mucous membranes to prevent moisture loss and irritation.
  • Potentiate the action of other ingredients, such as moisturizers, antioxidants or preservatives.

What are the benefits of carbopol?

This ingredient offers numerous advantages for the final consumer, since it improves the quality and performance of the products in which it is included. Some of these benefits are:

  • Provides a soft texture, nice and easy to apply to products.
  • Allows you to create transparent or translucent gels that they do not stain They don’t leave residue.
  • increases the stability and the homogeneity of the products, avoiding separation or crystallization.
  • Improves the compatibility and the synergy between the different ingredients of the products.
  • Promotes hydration nutrition and regeneration of skin and hair.
  • prevents infections, inflammations and irritations of the skin and mucous membranes.
  • It brings a feeling refreshingcalming and softening to the products.

Where do you get carbopol?

It is possible to find carbopol in specialty chemical stores, pharmacies or drugstores. Next, we will mention the information that you need to take into account.

Sources and availability of carbopol in the market

This polymer it is produced industrially by various chemical companies. One of the best known is Lubrizol, an American company that manufactures different types of carbopol under different brand names. Some of the brands available in the market are:

  • Carbopol Ultrez 10
  • Carbopol Ultrez 21
  • Carbopol NTD 2020
  • Carbopol Aqua SF-1

Places to buy carbopol and reliable suppliers

Depending on the use that you want to give it, you can find carbopol in different places. Some of the recommended places are:

  • chemical stores or raw materials for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical or food industry. Some examples are: Homemade Natural Cosmetics Shop or Quimicamp.
  • Online stores or e-commerce platforms. The most common sites could be: Amazon, eBay or AliExpress. These places offer carbopol as one more product in their catalogue.
  • Pharmacies or parapharmacies that sell carbopol as an ingredient to make homemade or artisanal products. Some options are: Serra Mandri Pharmacy, Liceo Pharmacy or International Pharmacy.

carbopol properties

Know the physical and chemical characteristics of carbopol, as well as the behavior of this polymer in different media and formulations.

Physical and chemical characteristics of carbopol

  • white powder or slightly yellowish that swells on contact with water or alcohol.
  • It is a colorless liquid and corrosive with a strong odor that is obtained from the polymerization of a carboxylic acid.
  • It has a great thickening capacity and increases viscosity of the fluids.
  • Density very low apparent, between 0.05 and 0.3 g/ml.
  • Solubility very low in water, between 0.01 and 0.1%.
  • Point of very high fusion, between 260 and 300°C.
  • Point of very high inflammation, between 400 and 450°C.
  • acid pHbetween 2.5 and 3.5.
  • Capacity of absorption of very high water, between 10 and 1000 times its weight.
  • Goo very high, between 10,000 and 100,000 centipoise.

Behavior of carbopol in different media and formulations

Carbopol has a peculiar behavior in different media and is reactive in many formulations, due to its molecular structure and its interaction with other components.

  • Forms viscous and transparent gels when mixed with water or alcohol.
  • It is sensitive to low pH and high pH. This makes the gel more fluid and less viscous or the gel stiffer and more viscous.
  • It is sensitive to electrolytes (salts). They can either neutralize its charge or form complexes with it, causing the gel to collapse or harden.

What is carbopol and triethanolamine?

Triethanolamine is an organic base used to neutralize carbopol and adjust the pH of the gel. It also acts as an emulsifier, humectant and preservative in products containing carbopol.

The combination of these two products allows to create gels with a smooth texturecreamy and easy to spread.

What are the uses of carbopol?

Due to its versatile properties, carbopol has many uses in different industries such as the manufacture of gels, creams and pharmaceuticals:

Manufacture of gels, creams and pharmaceutical products

  • Hydroalcoholic gels.
  • Anti-inflammatory, analgesic or healing gels.
  • Lubricating gels, spermicides or contraceptives.
  • Ophthalmic, nasal or otic gels.
  • Dental, oral or pharyngeal gels.
  • Moisturizing, nourishing or regenerating creams.
  • Anti-wrinkle, firming or illuminating creams.
  • Depilatory, exfoliating or self-tanning creams.
  • Pharmaceutical products in the form of capsules, tablets, syrups or solutions.

In the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry

Carbopol is also used in other industries as an additive or ingredient to improve the characteristics of the products that are made. Some examples of these products are:

  • Cosmetic products such as makeup, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick or nail polish.
  • Pharmaceutical products such as vaccines, serums, eye drops or drops.
  • Food products such as sauces, dressings, jams, yogurts or ice creams.

Examples of products that contain carbopol and their benefits

There are numerous products for daily use that have carbopol and offer great benefits: Some are:

  • Hair care gels: Acts as a thickening and fixing agent, giving shape and shine to the hair, helps to concentrate moisture and prevent frizz.
  • Moisturizing and moisturizing creams: Improves the texture and stability of the creams, avoiding the separation of the ingredients. In addition, it provides a soft and pleasant sensation on the skin.
  • disinfectant gels: Forms a gelled base that allows the incorporation of alcohol and other antiseptic agents.
  • medicated gels: Allows the controlled release of active ingredients, increasing their bioavailability and effectiveness.
  • Cleaning products: Improves the viscosity and suspension of cleaning products, preventing them from settling or spilling.

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