Polyacrylamide Good Film-Forming Agent No known benefits Polyacrylamide at a glance Acts as a film-former, suspending/binding agent and emollient in skin care formulas Other reported uses include foam building agent in cleansing products Available in different forms as a solid, aqueous solution, or emulsion Found in all kinds of beauty products including shampoos, lotions, and self-tanners Polyacrylamide description Polyacrylamide is a synthetic polymer that works as a film-former and suspending/binding agent in skin care formulas. Other reported uses include foam-building agent and lubricant/emollient. This ingredient can be found in all kinds of beauty products including shampoos, cleansers, body lotions, and self-tanning products. Polyacrylamide is available in different forms such as a solid (powder or microbeads), aqueous solution, or what’s known as an inverse emulsion (polyacrylamide in water droplets coated with surfactant molecules and suspended in mineral oil). In 2005, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel concluded polyacrylamide is safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the practises of use and concentrations described in their safety assessment (they looked at products containing 0.05–2.8%). Their one caveat is that the level of acrylamide monomer (a byproduct of the formation of polyacrylamide) in formulation should not be greater than 5 parts per million (ppm). Note: The level of acrylamide as a percentage of polyacrylamide varies depending on how and in what form the ingredient is supplied. Reputable suppliers will screen for residual monomers to ensure any detected fall within the safe range. Also good to know: these byproducts do not penetrate skin.