YIKES: Acrylates Copolymer in Beauty Products

Written by andy

Are these as dangerous as they sound? Find out here…

Beauty products are no longer as natural as they once were! While most of the cosmetics and skincare products once made contained only natural ingredients derived from myriad herbs, fruits, berries, and essential oils, things have changed in the last decades. Chemical ingredients have been added to make the beauty products last longer, adhere better, and improve the look overall.

Acrylate copolymer is a name for a family of chemicals that has been added to your beauty products. These copolymers contain acrylic acid of some sort, or an ester in the acrylic acid family. But are they harmful for your health?

Here’s what the acrylates copolymer do–the reasons they’re added into your beauty products:

  • Absorbent –– They help your skin to absorb the ingredients that are added into the skincare products.
  • Adhesive –– If you want that nail polish to adhere to your nails properly, that’s where acrylates copolymer comes in.
  • Nail builder –– It may be artificial, but the acrylates copolymer is designed to enhance the health and thickness of your fingernails.
  • Binder –– These acrylates copolymer serve as a binding agent, helping the various ingredients in the beauty products to blend together properly and hold.
  • Film former –– To ensure that there is proper protection on your nails, acrylates copolymer is added to nail polish to leave a thin protective film.
  • Hair fixative –– This doesn’t mean that it repairs your hair, but it helps to “fix it in place”–giving hair care products more holding power. Great for styling!
  • Viscosity increasing agent –– You expect your skin care lotions to be thick and creamy, and acrylates copolymer is added to those lotions to give them a good viscosity. Pretty much any cream or product that is thick may have acrylates copolymer added.

READ MORE: 9 Dangerous Chemicals in Your Kitchen

So now you understand WHY acrylates copolymer are added to your beauty products, but now we come to the big question: is it going to be harmful for your health?

According to the FDA, acrylates copolymer can be used as an indirect food additive. This means that it can be used in the manufacture of the packaging items used to store and display food. If you buy different types of packaged foods, the plastic packaging may contain acrylates copolymer.

When it comes to direct contact with the body, acrylates copolymer have been proven to be more dangerous than you might think, especially in its concentrated form. It’s advised against allowing acrylates copolymer to come in contact with the skin or eyes, as it can be an irritant–leading to skin rashes, inflammation, etc. Of course, you don’t find acrylates copolymer in concentrated dosages in your skincare products, so it should be fairly safe to use, right?

These acrylates copolymer are often used in OTC beauty products and personal care products, but it has been known to act as an irritant to certain people. The problem is most common among those with very sensitive skin, but some display allergic or negative reactions to the acrylates copolymer in their beauty products.

So, while acrylates copolymer aren’t harmful to everyone, there is a very real risk that they may cause negative side effects when YOU use them. If you notice that your skin is showing signs of irritation, it may be time to take a good hard look at your beauty products. If they contain acrylates copolymer, these chemicals may be what is doing your body harm in the long run. Time to stop using them!


About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

1 Comment

  • Very useful article, I’m allergic to acrylates and I know how hard it is to find beauty products free from them. If there was a recommended list of beauty products that are free from acrylates I would be very interested in seeing it. I’m yet to find a nail polish free from acrylates

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