Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) is a water-soluble polymer derived from cellulose. It is commonly used in a wide variety of industries, including cosmetics, personal care, and pharmaceuticals.
HEC is produced by chemically modifying cellulose with ethylene oxide, which introduces hydroxyethyl groups into the cellulose backbone. This modification increases the water solubility and enhances the thickening properties of cellulose.
In the cosmetics and personal care industry, HEC is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer in products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and creams. It provides a smooth and creamy texture, enhances the product’s ability to spread, and improves its overall consistency.
In the pharmaceutical industry, HEC is used as a binder and disintegrant in tablets, as well as a thickener and stabilizer in suspensions and emulsions. It is also used in ophthalmic formulations to increase the viscosity and prolong the contact time of the drug in the eye.
HEC is generally considered to be safe and non-toxic, and it is biodegradable and renewable. However, like any other chemical, it should be handled with care and used according to the recommended guidelines.