Xanthan gum, also known as corn sugar gum, is made from corn sugar by fermentation with a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris.  It is a long chain polysaccharide and is made up of three different sugars: glucose, mannose and glucoronic acid.  In cosmetics, xanthan gum is primarily used as a binder, stabilizer and aqueous viscosity increasing agent. It has mild skin conditioning properties and is also considered an emulsifying surfactant.  It is somewhat similar to cellulose gum, however, xanthan gum is more rigid and results in firmer finished products.

Xanthan gum is widely accepted as a safe ingredient for cosmetic use.  It contributes to the thickness, stability and usability of many products that have creamy or gel-like consistencies.

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