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Succinoglycan is a molecule you might have applied on your skin before without knowing it – and most likely without knowing how to pronounce it! Well, know that it offers the combined advantages of giving personal care products a pleasant texture and being made from a 100% natural resource.

Solvay commercializes succinoglycan under the name Rheozan® SH. Why such a name? Because it modifies a liquid’s rheology – in other words, how pasty it is. Its primary application is skincare products – creams and lotions of all sorts. Rheozan® SH offers a great deal of valuable characteristics as a thickener, which we will detail below, but one of its key features that make it a success on the market is its origin. “This product matches current consumer demand for personal care products made from natural ingredients,” says Anne Thomasson, Global Key Account Manager at Solvay’s Novecare unit. To be specific, succinoglycan is obtained from the fermentation of bacteria, namely agrobacterium tumefaciens.

The main comparable competitor on the market for Rheozan® SH (leaving aside its synthetic equivalents) is Xanthan Gum, a very widely used thickening agent. But succinoglycan actually offers superior properties – it spreads more easily, is absorbed by the skin faster, it’s less sticky, etc. – making for an overall better “skin feel” sensation. And that’s no minor quality. “In the personal care market, and especially skincare, texture is an extremely important criteria,” explains Anne. “If customers don’t like the feel of a cream, they won’t buy it again. This is where Rheozan® SH is particularly useful, especially considering its excellent pseudo-plasticity, which means it can be used in all types of formulations, from the thickest face mask to sprayable products.”


“Rheozan® SH matches current consumer demand for personal care products that are made from natural ingredients.”

Anne Thomasson, Global Key Account Manager, Novecare, Solvay

Rheozan® SH will be presented at the SEPAWA Congress for Cosmetics, Detergents & Home Care, held in Berlin from 10-12 October. During this event, several of Solvay’s business units, among which Novecare, but also Peroxides, Silica, Soda Ash & Derivatives and Coatis, will present their solutions in home & personal care. 


A stoic thickener

As mentioned, what makes succinoglycan such an interesting product for a personal care product manufacturer to work with is its host of useful properties.
First of all, it offers good suspension properties: it stabilizes the particles in an emulsion and prevents sedimentation. This means that the components making up the care product (for example solids in an exfoliating cream) remain evenly dispersed within the solution instead of sinking to the bottom or rising to the top.
Second, Rheozan® SH adapts to all types of pH environments while retaining its viscosity properties. It’s capable of doing its job from a very acid to a basic product, thus covering almost the entire range of personal care products. Other polymers tend to modify their viscosity properties according to the surrounding pH, but not Rheozan.

Finally, it’s also very stable in the presence of electrolytes, which are often found in personal care products. Contrary to Xanthan Gum, you can use Rheozan® SH in any type of skin care product, from sunscreen to moisturizing lotion. It will once again retain its viscosity whatever the formulation. This is a key property to make life easier for manufacturers, as they can rely on Rheozan® SH for their entire range of products, while offering buyers creams that are more and more natural.