Polymers and Penetration

Hi Everyone.

I have been experimenting with various "natural" polymers (HEC, Xanthan, Alginate, Konjac, HLA, etc) to create a serum / gel product. As you know, some result in much greater viscosity than others when hydrated, and some have greater film-forming, or surface tension properties. My question is this: Does the lower viscosity polymer allow for greater skin penetration? I have experimented with some mushroom polymers that have high viscosity, but the superficial film is barely noticeable.

So what properties in the polymer do I take into account when considering the delivery of actives?

Thanks for any help!



  • In my oppinion, polymer, by there size will not help for skin penetration. Even if if the lower viscosity polymer have lower Mw, it is still too large to penetrate the SC
  • Which mushroom polymers did you experiment with?
  • EliseCortes:

    I have used Tremella and Sclerotium. Tremella can almost match Carbomer in viscosity, but leaves a very thin, non-tensile film. Sclerotium, is the same, with a little more tensile feel.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited June 2018
    I agree with @jeremien - a polymer no matter how small probably wont help with penetration

  • Thanks for all the input folks!

    I guess my question wasn't clear. Can the MW of the polymer play a role in the stopping the ACTIVE from penetrating, not the polymer itself?
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