Fact vs Fiction: Carrageenan

The internet is a wonderful thing, offering a seemingly endless world of information at the tip of our fingers. The challenge, however, is deciphering through it all. What is true? What’s half true? And what is simply false? Even well-meaning bloggers and consumer groups can get it wrong when the truth gets buried under too much hype.

And that is exactly what has happened with carrageenan, a gelling and thickening agent used in our skin gel. I have personally done a lot of research on this ingredient and can see where all the confusion has come from. So I want to take this opportunity to flesh out the inaccuracies and give you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this ingredient.

Used since 600 B.C. carrageenan is a natural seaweed gum that has recently come under scrutiny with some people calling it a carcinogenic. Those that claim this are not completely wrong. But they are not correct either. This is because there are two forms of carrageenan: un-degraded which is a native or food grade, and degraded (also known as Poligeenan).

Un-degraded carrageenan is what is used in food and cosmetic products, and is what is used in Nature’s Aid skin gel. This form of carrageenan is natural and has been tested and reviewed relentlessly for decades and the findings remain consistent: it is safe.

On the other hand, degraded carrageenan is chemically processed using strong acids. This form of carrageenan would never, ever be allowed in food or cosmetics. In fact, it is solely used in an x-ray imaging diagnostic product.

The confusion of these two forms began when the term carrageenan was used interchangeably. But it was proliferated with studies that used poligeenan instead of carrageenan and didn’t specify the difference.

As with anything in life, too much is never a good thing. This applies even to the un-degraded carrageenan used in Nature’s Aid and other food and cosmetic products. If you were to apply or ingest it at full strength that could indeed be detrimental to your well-being. However, degraded carrageenan is only ever approved at 0.5% in the products we consume or apply. Further, Nature’s Aid uses it in a much lower dosage – less than 0.1%.

Finally, I would like to stress the fact that Nature’s Aid is NOT meant to be ingested and should never be ingested. It is a topical formula only, which further decreases any negative impact of this ingredient. If you would like to do more research on the matter please take a look at the following sites:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

E.U. Scientific Committee on Food

U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization.



I hope this has cleared up any confusion for you and please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns. We want only the best for our customers and their families.

Filed under: Natural Chemistry