Polyacrylamide is a polymer that is formed from units of acrylamide, a known neurotoxin.
- It is used in cosmetics and beauty products in two different forms, either as a soft gel in its cross-linked form, which has highly water-absorbent properties, or in its straight-chain form, as a thickener and suspending agent. It has also been used recently as an active ingredient in the subdermal wrinkle filler, Aquamid.
- Polyacrylamide is an ingredient in a variety of cosmetic and beauty products, including skin cleansers, moisturizers, lotions and creams, self tanning products, makeup, and hair care and nail care products. It dries to form a thin coating on the skin, hair, or nails; in hair care products, it helps hair hold its style by inhibiting the hair’s ability to absorb moisture; in makeup, it holds together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake; in sunscreen products, it aids in retaining sunscreen on the skin after immersion in water. Small Polyacrylamide beads may also be used in skin cleansing products as an abrasive (Source).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows Polyacrylamide (with less than 0.2% acrylamide monomer) to be used as a film former in the imprinting of soft-shell gelatin capsules. The CIR Expert Panel concluded that it was appropriate to limit acrylamide levels and established an upper limit of 5 ppm acrylamide residues in cosmetics and personal care products. Polyacrylamide polymers do not penetrate the skin due to their large size, according to RealSelf.com.
- The Cosmetic Database finds Polyacrylamide to be a moderate hazard ingredient and notes multiple concerns, including neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity and data gaps. The biggest warning regarding the use of Polyacrylamide is the contamination concern and the presence of Acrylamide, a known toxin.
Acrylamide is rated by the EWG as a high hazard ingredient, at a 10, the highest level possible, due to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergic reactions, organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, irritation of the skin and eyes, and endocrine disruption, as well as biohazardous effects. Polyacrylamide is FDA and CIR approved, but to safeguard consumers, the CIR Expert Panel limits the potential Acrylamide levels that can be present in any product and established an upper limit of 5 ppm Acrylamide residues in cosmetics and personal care products, according to research.
IUPAC poly(2-propenamide) or poly(1-carbamoylethylene)
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyacrylamide