Ingredient Database

ToxicFree Foundation / Ingredient Database / Carrageenan
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    Chondrus Crispus


    What is it?

    Carrageenan is made from parts of various red algae or seaweeds and is used in skin care, nutritional drinks & medicine.



    Key Information

    • Thickening Agent & Emulsifier in Cosmetics and Skin Care
    • Carageenan is not the same as poligeenan which is not permitted in cosmetics/skin care

    More Information

    The source of confusion and misinformation regarding carrageenan stems from people not knowing that there are two different types that result from different ways of processing the polysaccharides that are extracted from seaweed: Carageenan vesus poligeenan.  Poligeenan is not allowed in food or cosmetics.

    The WHO group JECFA that determines cancer causing sources states  it does not cause cancer. 

    The FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has declared Caregeenan safe for infant formulas.



    Carrageenan contains chemicals that may decrease stomach and intestinal secretions. Large amounts of carrageenan seem to pull water into the intestine, and this may explain why it is tried as a laxative. It can be 'binding' in the intestines and this is where the major controversary against it stems from.  It is NOT harmful in Cosmetics/Skin Care and is a safe natural replacement to synthtic/Toxic Emulsifiers.

    This ingredient is commonly used in: