Know Your Ingredients: Dicaprylyl Carbonate

by Gio
Dicaprylyl Carbonate skincare

Have you heard of Dicaprylyl Carbonate?

It’s one of those ingredients that lurks in almost all your skincare products and has a suspect name that makes it look a little… well, it’s not natural, is it?

Should you worry? Not really. Here’s why:

What Is Dicaprylyl Carbonate?

Dicaprylyl Carbonate is a colourless and odourless (almost!) oil. It can be derived from from vegetable, synthetic and animal sources.

The type used in skincare is usually synthetic. But that doesn’t make it bad. Don’t judge an ingredient by its origin. Judge it by its effectiveness and safety.

What Does Dicaprylyl Carbonate Do For Skin?

Dicaprylyl Carbonate is an emollient. A “dry emollient”, to be precise.

What the heck does that mean? It moisturises skin, leaving it softer and smoother instead than greasy and oily. No residue with this one.

It works by creating a protective film on your skin that strengthens its protective barrier. This reinforced barrier:

  • Keeps moisture from evaporating, leaving your skin hydrated and supple for hours on end.
  • Keeps germs, pollutants, and other irritants out of your skin, so they can’t irritate it and wreak damage.
  • Better withstands the attacks of harsh weather, preventing your skin from drying out.

This is especially important if your skin is dry and/or sensitive. Your skin’s natural barrier is already compromised, so you need all the help you can get to fix it up again.

Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)

Need help creating the best skincare routine for you dry skin? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Dry Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).

What Else Does Dicaprylyl Carbonate Do in Skincare?

Dicaprylyl Carbonate has excellent spreadability and helps other ingredients with slow spreadability glide on more easily, too.

This is why you’ll often find it in sunscreens. A lot of UV filters (like Octinoxate) have thick textures that are hard to spread. But add this baby to the mix and voilá, it glides on like a dream and feels lighter on the skin to boot.

Because texture matters. It doesn’t matter how effective a sunscreen or moisturiser is. No one wants to use a thick paste that takes 20 minutes to put on.

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Dicaprylyl Carbonate?

Does Dicaprylyl Carbonate Have Any Side Effects?

Nope. Dicaprylyl Carbonate is generally considered to be safe.

Sure, it’s possible some people may be allergic to it. You can become allergic to anything at any time, remember? But even this is rare.

This is one of those chemical ingredients that moisturises skin without doing any harm.

P.S. While we’re on the subject, EVERYTHING is a chemical, including water. Just saying…

The Bottom Line

Dicaprylyl Carbonate is an excellent emollient that makes skin softer and smoother and helps other ingredients better spread onto your skin. Don’t be scared of it. It’s a friend.

What are your thoughts on Dicaprylyl Carbonate? Let me know in the comments below.



Boris April 8, 2015 - 11:24 pm

There’s a typo in the title: you -> your

Gio April 14, 2015 - 1:19 pm

Boris, thank you for letting me know. I’ll fix it now. 🙂

Rachael April 25, 2015 - 7:51 am

Do you know what kind of vegetable is used when it is vegetable based?

Gio April 25, 2015 - 7:40 pm

Rachel, it is usually derived from coconut or palm oil.

Rachael April 26, 2015 - 1:55 am

Thank you!

Gio April 26, 2015 - 4:54 pm

You’re welcome.

Eszter May 15, 2016 - 10:13 pm

Hi! Do you know what is its comedogen index?
from Hungary 😉

Gio May 20, 2016 - 9:55 pm

Eszter, hi. No, I’m afraid I don’t. I checked out a few comedogenicity charts, but this one wasn’t on any of them. 🙁

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