Carrageenan is seaweed gum used as a gelling and thickening agent. Without thickeners and gelling agents, water-based products, such as Nature’s Aid skin gel, would be too watery to apply effectively to the skin.
Carrageenan is a completely safe thickening agent commonly used in both foods and cosmetics. However, over the past few years, there has been some confusion and misinformation in the health and wellness industry regarding carrageenan’s safety. The concerns raised are due to the lack of knowledge about the two forms of carrageenan: degraded and un-degraded. Degraded carrageenan, although it starts as un-degraded carrageenan, is chemically processed using a strong acid, resulting in a very different product. Degraded carrageenan does not have the same thickening qualities as un-degraded carrageenan and is never used in food or cosmetics.
Un-degraded carrageenan, on the other hand, is derived simply from seaweed and has been used since 600 BC. Carrageenan has been repeatedly tested for decades and consistently judged as safe for food and cosmetics. Studies that have revealed cause for concern have all been conducted with degraded carrageenan. But as the names are often used interchangeably, we can understand why there has been so much confusion. All Nature’s Aid products use un-degraded carrageenan. We take great care to use only the best ingredients available.
For even more information about this ingredient, check out our “Fact or Fiction” blog post.
Source: seaweed gum
EWG Score: 1