Carbomer vs AHA&BHA

AbdullahAbdullah Member
edited February 2021 in General
Is carbomer (speciality 940 and 980) a goog replacement for xanthan gum in this lotion for thickening and stabilizing the water phase?

Mineral oil or vegetable oil  ~%10
Polyglyceryl 4 Laurate  %3
Glyceryl stearate %1
Lactic acid %8 or salicylic acid %2
Xanthan gum  %0.3

Final pH 4-5 adjusted with sodium hydroxide 


  • 1) carbomers aren’t working well with electrolyes
    2) those two grades will not work at such a low ph.
    if xanthan isn’t an option, use Sepimax Zen.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    Carbopol Ultrez 30 activates in low pH systems (4.0 to 5.5).  You might give that a try.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Yeesh! With lactic acid at 8.0% you'll be working in the pH 2.5 range. No acrylate thickener - doesn't matter how "Zen" - will operate at that pH.
  • @chemicalmatti will adjust the final pH to 4-5 with sodium hydroxide
  • @ngarayeva001 unfortunately Sepimax Zen is not available here. 
    Any other suggestions
  • @MarkBroussard unfortunately Ultrez 30 is not available here.
    Any other suggestions
  • if you post the choices of thickeners you have or available to you.
    maybe it's will be easier for others to suggest
  • Oh wait a second.. polyglyceryl-4 laurate and GMS... This system will lead to w/o. No acrylate based thickener would work here. Even xanthan shouldn’t. You need to reconsider the entire formula. AHA exfoliant won’t work effectively with oil as an external phase. Not sure about BHA but that’s not the point. The entire system isn’t stable and needs reworking. 
  • @ngarayeva001 Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate has HLB 11. Why would it make w/o emulsion? 
  • @Pattsi ;
    I have tried guar gum, HEC, HPMC. They don't make the system stable.

    Carbomers 980 and 940 are available. 

    I don't know what other options are available so i can check
  • I am wrong. I thought it’s oleate which has low hlb. Have you tried adding fatty alcohols. They often improve stability.
  • @ngarayeva001 no i haven't tried fatty alcohol yet.
    Which fatty alcohol do you prefer?
    Cetyl or stearyl alcohol
  • Cetyl because has better slip but it can be argued that stearyl is slightly better for stability.
  • @ngarayeva001 thanks 
    For stability if i use a bit more cetyl it would be equal to stearyl. They are not expensive
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