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2D structural formula of Acrylates


What is it?

“Acrylates are the salts, esters, and conjugate bases of acrylic acid and its derivatives.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This ingredient belongs to the groups:

Included with this substance are also many different acrylate derivatives and compounds, for example hexamethylene diacrylate, ethyl acrylate, and methyl methacrylate.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund) link acrylates to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, cellular and neurological damage, and skin, eye and respiratory irritation.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) classifies ethyl acrylate as a substance that is “highly flammable liquid and vapour, is harmful if swallowed, is harmful in contact with skin, causes serious eye irritation, is harmful if inhaled, causes skin irritation, may cause an allergic skin reaction, may cause respiratory irritation, toxic if inhaled and is harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects.”

ECHA classifies ethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate as substances that are “highly flammable liquid and vapour, causes serious eye irritation, causes skin irritation, may cause an allergic skin reaction and may cause respiratory irritation.”

Hexamethylene diacrylate is classified by ECHA as a substance that “causes serious eye irritation, causes skin irritation and may cause an allergic skin reaction… is harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects.”

Acrylate was awarded Allergen of the Year in 2011 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

How is it used?

Acrylates are found in many cosmetic products* but it is an especially common ingredient in artificial nail products, in the form of acrylic glue. But the various acrylate compounds can also be found in hair products, toothpaste, makeup, soaps, and lotions, to mention a few.

The compounds have varied functions in products, but are for example used as a stabilizer, antistatic, or fixative agents. (Go to Curious Chloride’s glossary for explanations of functions)

1⋆) We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

2⋆) Cosmetic products definitions from the “Scientific Committee for Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products intended
for Consumers”, EU:
Stabilizing – Improves ingredients or formulation stability and shelf-life.
Antistatic – Reduces static electricity by neutralising electrical charge on a surface.
Fixative / Binding –  
Provides cohesion in cosmetics.

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Read about the other ingredients.