Xanthan Gum – Why Use It in Food and Skin Care?

January 21, 2019

Xanthan Gum – Why Use It in Food and Skin Care?

Xanthan gum is a microbial polysaccharide used in baked goods and skin care products. It was first produced commercially by Kelco Company (a division of Merck & Co. Inc) using a fermentation process. The Keltrol Xanthan Gum was developed by fermentation of sugars in the presence of bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. Later, the FDA approved it for food use in 1969. Today, xanthan gum has numerous applications and new ones continue to be found almost on a daily basis. The unique chemical structure of this wonderful gum makes it a versatile product of choice, having hundreds of functional uses.

The Unique Structure of Xanthan Gum for Skin & Food Applications 

The uniqueness of xanthan gum’s molecular structure is thanks to its cellulose backbone riding on tri-saccharide side chains. This helps it bind water very strongly--a feature that is especially beneficial in gluten free baking. 

Commercial Applications of Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum acts as an emulsifier, stabilizer and thickener. It provides body and "mouth-feel" to sauces and salad dressings, etc. In gluten free baking, it imparts the dough or batter a stickiness which would otherwise be achieved using gluten. It also prevents the splashing of dough when filling moulds with the batter. For yolk free baking, xanthan gum stabilizes egg whites and replaces the fats and emulsifiers that yolks otherwise would provide. In fat free drinks and diet products, it adds a mouth-feel and texture and holds particles of cocoa and orange pulp in suspension. Here are some more detailed applications of xanthan gum:

Xanthan Gum in Foamy Beverages

Xanthan gum has a unique ability to hold and retain bubbles. When combined with methylcellulose and hydrolyzed soy proteins, it provides stability to foamy foods and drinks. 

Xanthan Gum in Gluten Free Baking and Frozen Goods

As stated before, xanthan gum provides viscosity to batter and dough by trapping air bubbles.  This trapping of air bubbles helps dough to rise despite having a gluten structure. Besides the air bubbles, xanthan gum is also hydrophilic (meaning it is water-loving), and allows it to retain moisture in whatever product it is in...This is especially great for finished products, such as frozen and baked goods, and ensures that they retain moisture and don't dry out.

Xanthan Gum in Low Fat Diet Foods

Xanthan gum mimics the texture of fat on the palate and is used to replace egg yolks in baking and other recipes. 

Xanthan Gum as a Thickener

Xanthan gum can also be used to thicken alcoholic beverages. While it cannot be added in the hydrated form to alcoholic beverages, one can use it in a pre-hydrated form in water based solutions. Mojitos with intensely flavored mint infusions thickened using xanthan gum and added to a rum base will yield a beautiful drink with a great mouth-feel.

Xanthan Gum Stabilizes Food

Xanthan gum offers high resistance to enzymatic degradation. This property makes it a wonderful addition to foods having high levels of enzymes prone to degradation. For example, chefs add xanthan gum to peach puree when making bellini. When the puree is added to the champagne, it blends evenly in the beverage instead of separating into layers.

Xanthan Gum In Skin Care

Many commercial cosmetics and skin care products use xanthan gum. You might find commercial cosmetics listing it as corn starch gum. The main reason why we have added xanthan gum to our deodorant is thanks to its emulsification action. It helps bind the ingredients in the deodorant and maintains uniformity and prevents separation. Xanthan gum is a great alternative to chemical emulsifiers and serves as a texturizer, carrier agent and gelling agent. The gum also stabilizes the formulation and thickens the product.

The Benefits of using Xanthan Gum in Food

Xanthan Gum For People with Gluten Sensitivity

Xanhan gum is a blessing to people with gluten sensitivity, ADD, ADHD, IBS, etc. The gum easily replaces gluten to prevent symptoms caused by gluten intolerance.

Xanthan Gum--A Little Bit Does the Trick!

The advantage of using xanthan gum in commercial food products and diet/low fat foods is that it is needed in very little quantities. You can add it to all your preparations without having to worry about whether it will change the flavor or taste of the main ingredients. Most culinary preparations need less than 0.4% of xanthan gum--so you can add just a little bit to your recipes while avoiding the slimy texture that comes at higher concentrations. It is clear and odorless and will not affect the color or texture of food in any adverse way.

The Side Effects of Xanthan Gum

Very few side effects of xanthan gum have been reported so far. However, in large amounts, it can act as a laxative. There are no known side effects of xanthan gum when used topically.

Our products that contain xanthan gum:

Silver & Coconut Natural Roll On Deodorant--Unscented


1. Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary by M. Varinia Michalun, Joseph C. DiNardo

2. Stefan Gates on E Numbers

Medical Disclaimer

The content found on this website is for informational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and statements regarding health related benefits of certain ingredients are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professional. Do not use the information found within this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.


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