In personal care products, synthetic polymers (e.g. polyacrylates) are mostly, but not exclusively, used as thickening agents. Small quantities (< 1%) can already enable the formation of a gel network, which is most desired for the product handling and appearance, as well as the sensorial properties. Since most synthetic polymers are not biodegradable, they may fall under the scope of being a microplastic and could therefore be imposed to labelling in near future.
This threat is most unwanted by personal care companies and their suppliers, which in turn results in a growing interest for green alternatives. Currently used biopolymers (e.g. xanthan gum, cellulose, etc.) do not show the same performance as their synthetic acrylate-based counterparts. The same is valid for green polymers, which are based on biorenewable monomers (e.g. glycerol, sebacic acids, etc.). At the moment, the skin-feel and the viscosity building properties of these bio- and green polymers do not meet the requirements of the broad market, and thus remain as a rather niche product.
There is no interest in building blocks which are widely known within the personal care market, such as succinic acid, fumaric acid, malic acid, 3-hydroxy propionic acid, aspartic acid, glucaric acid, glutamic acid, itaconic acid, levulinic acid, glycerol, sorbitol, xylitol/arabinitol. Exempted are technological innovations which enable a more interesting production process of these or other well-known green building blocks, e.g. offering better turnover and price, sustainability, etc.