Xanthan gum is a common food and skincare ingredient, most often used as a thickener or to bind other ingredients together.
It’s formed when sugars are fermented with a bacteria known as Xanthomonas campestris to create a goo-like substance.
In food, that goo-like substance helps thicken things such a salad dressing, nut milks, and sauces. In skincare, it creates a beautiful slip and silky feel on the skin, aids with the ease of application of the product, and keeps the formula from separating.
Benefits of Xanthan Gum for Skin
It is a very common in many skincare formulations, but that’s not because it’s working some wonders for your skin. It’s pretty much entirely because the ingredient is an emulsifying agent that can create a smooth and evenly-texture product.
To that point, it definitely benefits the texture of the product more so than your skin. Most cosmetic formulas only contain a tiny amount of xanthan gum, usually between .0001-2%. It’s only required in minimal qualities to get the desired texture.
As an added benefit for formulators, xanthan gum is one of the only naturally-derived thickeners commonly used in skincare. It’s deemed to be very safe and is even allowed to be included in products that are considered ‘natural’ because of where it comes from.
This gum can be derived from corn, wheat, soy, and dairy. Also on its list of pros is the fact that its uses are truly endless. It doesn’t require heating or cooling to be effective and can just as easily be added to a skincare or food recipe as a common pantry ingredient such as corn starch.