Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of PVP and approved its use as a clarifying agent in beer, wine, and vinegar, and as an adjuvant in coatings on fresh citrus fruits. The safety of PVP has been assessed by the Expert Panel on Ingredient Safety. The Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone) was safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.

The Expert Panel, in reviewing the available data, on PVP decided to include studies on the PVP-iodine complex. The Expert Panel acknowledged that although the complex is a separate entity from the polymer, the majority of studies conducted on the complex demonstrated its safety. Because fewer adverse effects would be expected from PVP compared to the PVP-iodine complex, the Expert Panel was confident that studies conducted on the PVP-iodine complex supported the safety of PVP. Furthermore, toxicity studies conducted on PVP alone were negative for dermal irritation, developmental effects and genotoxicity supporting its safety and the Expert Panel concluded that PVP was safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)

PVP 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

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an Acceptable Daily Intake for PVP of 0-50 mg/kg body weight.



What Is It?

PVP, also called povidone or polyvinylpyrrolidone, is a faint yellow solid. In cosmetics and personal care products, PVP is used in the formulation of a wide range of product types including mascara, eyeliner, hair conditioners, hair sprays, shampoos and other hair care products.

Why Is It Used?

PVP helps to distribute or to suspend an insoluble solid in a liquid and keeps emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. It also holds together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake. PVP dries to form a thin coating on the skin, hair or nails. When used in hair care products, PVP helps hair hold its style by inhibiting the hair’s ability to absorb moisture.

Scientific Facts

PVP is a polymer. The molecular weight of PVP varies (from 10,000 to 700,000) depending on the length of the polymer chain. PVP with an average molecular weight of 40,000 is typically used in cosmetics and personal care products. Many noncosmetic uses of PVP have been reported, including its use as a food additive and as an antiseptic when it is combined with iodine.