Xanthan gum (E415) is a powdery ingredient that is commonly used in cosmetics as a thickener/stabilizer. It is safe for consumption and therefore is used as thickener in foods too. It is also a natural polysaccharide, produced by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.
Physical Property: Dry, beige/cream-colored fine powder.
Using Xanthan gum in formulation
In Oil/Water emulsion formulation, add the gum powder to the oil phase and stir. That way, it is easier to work with and does not form clumps like certain formulators say it does. It is not an active ingredient in cosmetics products.
Solubility and Stability
Xanthan gum is very soluble in water and can be dissolved in many acidic solutions. It is also quite compatible with most ingredients including glycerin. Its viscosity is enhanced with the addition of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium chloride
Industry Uses of Xanthan Gum
It is widely used in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paper, adhesives, paint, textiles, oil and gas industry.
One of the common challenges formulators face when working with xanthan gum is clump formation during mixing. This is managed by adding the powder slowly to the solution.
Another way to prevent the resulting gel from getting too clumpy, is to mix it first in oil before adding the water. It disperses properly, and does not swell in oil. In this video, I add the gum powder in water to show how it forms a gel.
Have you used this gum in any of your formulation? What challenges do you face when you use this ingredient? What formulations have you used it in? Tell us in the comment section.
Ki-Won S., Yong-Seok K. and Gap-Shik C Rheology of concentrated xanthan gum solutions :Steady shear flow behavior; Fibers and Polymers, 2006; 7(2): 129-138.