What is PVP?
PVP or polyvinylpyrrolidone, commonly known as povidone, is a pale yellow component that resembles the colour of albumin. It is found in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products and gives them an extra fixative power.
Most makeup and personal care products you use are formulations that do not skip PVP. This can include mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, hair conditioners, shampoos, as well as hair sprays.
What is the chemical property of PVP?
PVP is an inert, non-toxic, temperature-resistant, pH-stable, biocompatible and biodegradable polymer that facilitates encapsulation and administering both hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs. Polymer refers to a long chain of repeating units of vinyl pyrrolidone.
This makes PVP an advantageous and versatile excipient for formulating broadly used conventional to novel controlled delivery systems.
PVP is soluble in water and other polar solvents and has an excellent wetting property, readily forming films. This is the reason why it makes a good coating substance or an additive to coatings.
Moreover, in cosmetics and personal care products, PVP is used as a binding agent, in stabilizing emulsions, in hair fixatives, and as a non-surfactant suspending agent.
Uses of PVP
- Form a suspension: The main idea behind using PVP is to easily distribute or suspend an otherwise insoluble solid in a liquid.
- Prevent emulsions from separating: PVP helps to keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components.
- Hold ingredients together: PVP aids in holding together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake.
- Does not leave any residue: The application of PVP-containing products does not leave any sticky layer on the applied region but dries to form a thin coating on the skin, hair or nails.
- Helps maintain the integrity of the hair: When formulated in hair care products, PVP holds the structural integrity of hair strands and helps in maintaining a good hairstyle. This is because PVP inhibits the hair’s ability to absorb moisture.
- As a food additive: Non-cosmetic uses of PVP have also been reported, including its use as a food additive.
- As an antiseptic: PVP is also a component of over-the-counter drugs (OTC) and an antiseptic when combined with iodine.
- As a clarifying agent: PVP is used as a clarifying agent in beer, wine, and vinegar production.
- As an adjuvant: PVP is also used as an adjuvant in the coatings applied on fresh citrus fruits.
PVP in the beauty industry
This versatile ingredient used in the cosmetics and beauty industry is a binder, film former, emulsion stabilizer, suspending agent and hair fixative and is seen primarily in products such as mascara, eyeliner, hair conditioners, hair sprays, shampoos and other hair care products.
It keeps emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components and holds together the ingredients of compressed tablets or cakes. PVP also can dry and form a thin coating on the skin, nails or hair, and when it is seen as an ingredient in hair products, it is used to hold hair styles in place by preventing the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. It is also used in contact lens solutions and as the thickening agent in whitening toothpaste and tooth whitening gels.
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