What Is It?
Polyvinylpyrrolidone/Vinyl Acetate (VP/VA) Copolymer is a white, free-flowing powder. In cosmetics and personal care products, VP/VA Copolymer is used primarily in the formulation of hair care products but can also be found in skin and nail products.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
VP/VA Copolymer helps hair hold its style by inhibiting the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. VP/VA Copolymer dries to form a thin coating on the skin, hair or nails. It is also used to hold together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake and helps to distribute or to suspend an insoluble solid in a liquid.
VP/VA Copolymer is a polymer prepared by combining relatively small chemical compounds called monomers into a very large molecule that has very different properties. VP/VA Copolymer is a large molecule made from vinyl pyrrolidone (VP) and vinyl acetate (VA) monomers. The copolymer only contains residual amounts of the original monomers.
The safety of VP/VA Copolymer has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Polyvinylpyrrolidone/Vinyl Acetate Copolymer was safe as a cosmetic ingredient under present conditions of use and concentrations. In 2003, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on VP/VA Copolymer and reaffirmed the above conclusion.
More safety Information:
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel reviewed acute oral toxicity studies which showed low to no toxicity. No effects were reported in chronic oral and inhalation studies of VP/VA Copolymer. VP/VA Copolymer placed in the eye at concentrations ranging from 25% to 50% in alcohol produced no reaction to severe irritation at higher concentrations.
Acute skin irritation studies of 50% VP/VA Copolymer in alcohol on abraded and intact skin produced mild skin irritation. VP/VA Copolymer was not a sensitizer after intracutaneous injections. Formulations containing 1.75%, 4.0% and 5.0% VP/VA Copolymer produced no irritation in 24-hour clinical patch tests nor any evidence of sensitization in a repeated insult patch test at a concentration of 5.0%. VA/VP Copolymer 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:
The molecular weight of polymers varies greatly. Polymers may be brittle solids, flexible solids or liquids of varying viscosities. Polymers may be water soluble, such as polyvinylpyrrolicone, or almost unaffected by any solvent. In light of the wide variety of polymers available, these materials have found uses in numerous cosmetic products for a multitude of purposes. Today synthetic polymers are commonly used as the primary constitutuents of hair sprays and nail enamels, as film formers in skin and makeup products, and as viscosity builders of water-based and oil-based types of products.
The molecular weight of VP/VA Copolymer varies directly with both the ratio of VP to VA, which can vary from 70:30 to 30:70, and with the length of the polymer chain. In cosmetics and personal care products, VP/VA Copolymer functions as a hair fixative, film former, binder and suspending agent – nonsurfactant.
Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/