It is a naturally derived sugar-based polysaccharide. It is produced from the fermentation of the fungus Sclerotium rolfsii.
It is used in cosmetics to thicken and stabilise formulas. It also functions as a skin conditioning agent. It is also used as a natural alternative to synthetic gelling agents such as carbomer. It functions as a suspending agent, which prevents heavier ingredients in a formula from sinking to the bottom.