Amerchol Corporation's new family of conditioning polymers is aimed at offering personal care formulators new ways to add therapeutic value to skin care systems in an answer to the growing demand for increased functionality in skin care formulations, the company says.
The high viscosity quaternized hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) polymers allow enhanced deposition of emollients, sunscreen actives, perfumes, and other beneficial ingredients from traditional formulations as well as the emerging class of multifunctional systems like moisturizing body washes.
SoftCAT SK Polymers incorporate variations in charge level and hydrophobic modification which give them conditioning performance that is claimed to be superior to conventional cationic polymers such as polyquaternium-10, polyquaternium-7, and cationic guar.
Amerchol developed the new conditioning polymers in response to formulators' needs for higher levels of deposition performance. According to Denise Elias, Amerchol's global marketing manager for the new products, "SoftCAT SK polymers were developed to help formulators incorporate multi-dimensional and 'therapeutic' performance in personal care systems.
There is a growing trend toward such multi-functional products, especially in skin care systems designed to meet the needs of aging global populations. For example, consumers are looking for body wash formulations that also deliver lasting emolliency, fragrance, or incorporate UV blockers. More demanding formulating objectives called for improvements over conventional skin conditioning polymers."
Designing the new molecules led Amerchol scientists to review the mechanisms by which conditioning polymers deposit therapeutic agents. Working with sunflower seed oil (SSO), they first noted that SSO deposition efficiency varied greatly among differing conditioning polymer structures.
Using the basic repeating cellulose structure of the company's UCARE conditioning polymers, they optimised it for deposition of SSO by adding hydrophobic functionality.
Complementary coacervation studies showed the hydrophobically-modified polymer structures were also able to incorporate higher levels of oil over a broader range of dilution ratios; this phenomenon expands the range of possible use conditions under which they can effectively deposit therapeutic amounts of oil. Amerchol scientists also succeeded in achieving a range of charge substitutions for the new polymers to help optimize deposition performance with different surfactant systems and salt levels.
With conventional conditioning polymers, adding hydrophobic functionality can be tricky. It often depresses foaming or alters other important performance characteristics. However, the new molecules achieve an extremely good balance of performance properties; testing has shown they may actually offer foam performance superior to conventional conditioning polymers. Additionally, clear formulations can be achieved when using these polymers.
The new polymers will be marketed under the name SoftCAT SK Conditioning Polymers in four grades with varying degrees of charge level and hydrophobic modification. Viscosities of 1per cent solutions range between 1,800 and 3,400 cPs.
Says Amerchol's Elias, "Our laboratory and subjective evaluations of SoftCAT SK polymers show they offer a previously unmatched level of deposition efficiency for the kinds of active ingredients formulators are increasingly incorporating into therapeutic skin care systems. They have great promise in meeting current and emerging formulating needs. We're excited about the new possibilities SoftCAT SK Polymers are opening."