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All derivatives of alginic acid are designated “algin” (ammonium, calcium, potassium, and sodium). These gelatinous substances are obtained from certain seaweeds and used as emulsifiers in hand lotions and creams and as thickening ingredients in shampoos, wave sets, and lotions. They are also used as barrier ingredients in hand creams and lotions, in the manufacture of celluloid, as an emulsifier in mineral oil, and in mucilage. Sodium alginate from brown seaweed is used as a thickener in dentifrices, but the FDA is testing the sodium form (largely used in ice cream) for short-term mutagenic birth-deforming, reproductive, and subacute effects. Alginates are also used as stabilizers and water retainers in many foods.


A stabilizer in cosmetics, it is obtained as a highly gelatinous precipitate. The sodium carbonate extracts of brown dried seaweeds are treated with acid to achieve a gelatin. Resembles albumen or gelatin. Alginic acid is slowly soluble in water, forming a very thick liquid.


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