Know Your Ingredients: Octyl Palmitate

by Gio

octyl palmitate

What it is
Octyl Palmitate, also called Ethylhexyl Palmitate, is a clear liquid derived from palm oil.

What it does
Octyl Palmitate is an emollient that gives skin a soft and smooth appearance. It has a dry-sleep feel that is similar to silicone’s texture. For this reason, it is often used as a substitute for silicones in cosmetic products.
In addition, Octyl Palmitate is used in beauty products as thickener and solvent.

Side effects
Octyl Palmitate is comedogenic and can cause breakouts. In addition, it can also cause irritations.


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Dao November 1, 2009 - 8:30 pm

Thanks for the info, I have to take a look at the face lotions that I use to see if it’s in there.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Sunday Read List: GILTY Pleasures Blog Tour, Volume 2 =-.

beautifulwithbrains November 2, 2009 - 1:38 pm

You’re welcome Dao 🙂

Tia Mullins April 7, 2011 - 2:23 am

I have been a Massage Therapist for over 22 years. It seems as though I have developed an allergy to Octyl Palmitate. I need help finding a Massage cream without this ingredient in it. Any suggestions? I have considered just Grapeseed Oil or Olive Oil, but am afraid if I use just those products that I will develop a sensitivity to those as well. I love the feel of a cream rather than an oil.
This is very discouraging and I would welcome any feedback.
Thank You.

beautifulwithbrains April 7, 2011 - 9:01 pm

Tia, I’m sorry to hear you are allergic to this ingredient. Unfortunately I’m not sure what cream to suggest. I’ve never used creams for massages, I usually stick to jojoba oil or essential oils. Hopefully someone else will have other suggestions for you.

Erica April 21, 2011 - 12:23 pm

I’ve been using a cream but it has isopropyl myristate (also an derivative of coconut oil like Octyl Palmitate) – you could try it. It is also “comedogenic” or can cause drying and irritations but by switching back and forth you may minimize the irritation. Coconut oil itself is considered comedogenic so I guess all it’s derivatives are too.

Shea butter based creams rate very low on the irritation/comedogenic scale so I suggest trying one of these. They have pretty good glide – not as nice as the octyl palmitate… but that’s why they make the chemicals, I guess. They work for their purpose, but holistically they suck as they have bad side effects.

Best wishes!

beautifulwithbrains October 21, 2011 - 7:55 am

Erica, thanks for your comment. I love Shea Butter creams, they are very moisturizing and the risk of a bad reaction is really low. As for Isopropyl Myristate, that does its job well but I can’t use creams with it because it breaks me out really bad. But of course, everyone has different skin so others may not experience the same side effects.

Samantha Crosby October 20, 2011 - 9:32 pm

I would like to know more as I am a fellow LMT in practice for 7 years with possibly the same issue. I have been using massage gel for the past two years with octyl palmitate and am wondering have you undergone allergy testing? How do you know you are allergic to this specific product?

beautifulwithbrains October 21, 2011 - 7:57 am

Samantha, to find out if you have an allergy to it, you need to do a patch test and see how your skin reacts to the product. If it gets red and itchy, you are allergic to it and should stop using the product straight away.

Paula November 17, 2011 - 10:04 pm

I am also a massage therapist and have developed chronic itchy eczema on hands and forearms due to numerous products that I’ve used over the years. I use jojoba oil from Boston jojoba Co. organic, its pricey but worth it. I’ve never been able to use the creams for very long eventually i break out. The worse one was for me was the all purpose from Biotone. Good Luck. Homeopathy works really well for eczema. Find someone who is trained in classical homeopathy, don’t attempt to treat yourself, its complicated and it takes a skilled homeopathic person to know what remedy to use.

beautifulwithbrains November 18, 2011 - 4:56 pm

Paula, I’m sorry you developed eczema because of the products you used, how awful. I’m glad Jojoba oil works for you and thanks for sharing your experience and tips.

Ashley January 4, 2012 - 1:23 am

I’ve been using a lip gloss that I got from Ulta and it’s been about a week that I’ve had it, but today my lips started to burn and were slightly swollen. I thought I’d look up what’s in the gloss and found this, but they said somewhere else that it would have to have at least 40-50% of octyl palmitate to cause irritation, but I’m unsure of what the real cause might be.

beautifulwithbrains January 4, 2012 - 7:21 am

Ashley, I’m sorry to hear that. Octyl Palmitate can cause irritations to some people, but yes, usually in high concentrations. But without seeing the entire ingredient list I can’t say for certain that’s the culprit. It may also be a combination of ingredients that’s causing a bad reaction for you.

Lo June 5, 2012 - 8:59 pm

Is this ingredient safe during pregnancy? I am having a terrible time finding an all natural lotion.

beautifulwithbrains June 6, 2012 - 8:17 pm

LO, to the best of my knowledge, it is. Here you can find a list of ingredients you should avoid during pregnancy:

Kayla Calcote January 22, 2014 - 3:10 pm

I noticed that most of the massage lotions and oils that you ladies have used are chemical based. The best way to avoid chemical irritations is to use botanical based products made by botanical companies such as Arbonne.

Gio January 22, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Kayla, everything made of matter is a chemical. Therefore, even water and plant-based ingredients are chemicals. Or better, they are made up of several different chemicals. There are both good and bad chemicals, regardless of their origin. Natural doesn’t equal better and safer. Sometimes it does, but not always.

Amanda July 9, 2017 - 2:15 pm

I have just found out that I’m allergic to ethylhexyl palmitate yesterday. For almost 10yrs now, around summer time I would get blisters in patches on my hands and fingers, thought it was a form of dry skin due to only having it seasonally. After a 3 1/2hr ER visit I was informed that I have an allergic reaction, that covered my hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face, to this ingredient, found in almost all sunscreens. Is this also the reason I get these reactions when I wear makeup? Any suggestions on sunscreen and skin care products that don’t use this as an active ingredient?


Gio July 15, 2017 - 10:35 am

Amanda, sorry to hear about your allergy. I recommend you stay away from any skincare products with SPF. Instead, for sun protection, use only a sunscreen with zinc oxide. You can check out my fave picks here:

danielle June 18, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Hello, do you know of any ingredients in cosmetics that achieve the same purpose as octyl palmitate without being palm-oil derived? are there any? i’m trying to stop buying things containing palm oil but the majority of my favourite makeup brands use octyl palmitate in eyeshadows etc

Gio June 22, 2018 - 12:27 pm

Danielle, octyl palmitate is often used to replace silicones. But I’m not sure if those are a valid alternative for you? I know some people don’t like using them either.


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