What Is It?

Pectin is a naturally occurring compound found in the cell wall of plants. In cosmetics and personal care products, Pectin is used in the formulation of body and hand products, as well as makeup foundations, shampoos, hair conditioners, permanent waves, personal cleanliness products, and other hair products.

Why Is It Used?

Pectin helps to keep an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. It also holds together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake. Pectin increases the thickness of the aqueous (water) portion of cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Pectin is a purified carbohydrate product obtained by extracting the inner portion of the rind of citrus fruits or from apple pomace. Under acidic conditions, Pectin forms a gel and is commonly used as a thickening agent and for making jams and jellies.

Safety Information

Based on a safety review, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers Pectin as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as a direct food substance. Pectin is also an approved demulcent for Over-the-Counter (OTC) oral health care drug products. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has deferred evaluation of this ingredient because the safety has been assessed by FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has conducted an assessment of the safety of some food additives, including Pectin. The Committee has not limited the Acceptable Daily Intake of Pectin.

The FDA’s Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) concluded that there was no evidence in the available information on Pectin that demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current or might reasonably be expected in the future.

FDA allows Pectin to be used in OTC oral health care products as a demulcent.…

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Pectin…

Pectin may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information

Pectin consists chiefly of partially methoxylated polygalacturonic acids. Pectin belongs to the chemical class of carbohydrates. Materials in this group are generally plant-derived and have the unique ability to swell in the presence of water and to increase the viscosity of aqueous preparations. In cosmetics and personal care products, Pectin functions as a binder, emulsion stabilizer, and viscosity increasing agent – aqueous. It is also used as a demulcent in OTC oral health care drug products.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):

Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration

OTC Drug Home Page:…

Information about OTC Drug monographs:

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory