ethylhexyl palmitate in skincare

If you’re avoiding silicones like the plague, you may be familiar with Octyl Palmitate. It’s a common (and cheap) alternative.

But, what is it exactly? What does it do in skincare? And is it safe?

Let’s find out:

What Is Octyl Palmitate?

First things first: Octyl Palmitate is best known as Ethylhexyl Palmitate. Isn’t it annoying when skincare ingredients have more than one name?!

This clear liquid is an ester of 2-ethylhexyl alcohol and palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is a common saturated fatty acid naturally found in animas and plants – and a major component of palm oil. If If that’s a dealbreaker for you, avoid products that use it.

You can make Octyl Palmitate in a lab or produce it from natural plant fragrances. At room temperature, it looks like a clear, colourless liquid.

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What Does Octyl Palmitate Do In Skincare?

Octyl Palmitate is often used as a substitute for silicones thanks to its dry-slip feel. Like silicones, it’s a multitasker too:

  • Emollient: It reduces water loss, keeping skin hydrated for longer. Hydrated skin is smoother, smoother, and plumper. The best part? It leaves no greasy residue on. It’s a dry emollient that feels just like silicones.
  • Fragrance fixative: It helps perfume or scent stick to the skin, so they last longer. Good in perfumes, not so good in skincare products (fragrance can be irritating for sensitive skin).
  • Lubricant: It reduces friction when you rub it against your skin, making application smoother.
  • Pigment wetting agent: A fancy way of saying it helps to improve the distribution of pigments in a formulation, so they don’t all accumulate in one spot.
  • Solvent: It helps dissolve other ingredients into a solution. This also helps enhance the penetration of active ingredients, so they work better and faster.

Related: Is Fragrance In Skincare As Bad As Paula Begoun Says?

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Octyl Palmitate (Ethylhexyl Palmitate)?

Is Octyl Palmitate Comedogenic?

Yes. Like all ingredients with Palmitate in the name, Octyl Palmitate can clog pores and make you breakout.

It’s more likely to happen if you have oily/acne-prone skin and are using a cream with a high amount of Octyl Palmitate. Tiny doses are usually safe for oily skin, too.

But if you see Octyl Palmitate in the top 5 ingredients on the label, run away!

Related: What Skincare Ingredients Are Comedogenic?

Does Octyl Palmitate Have Any Side Effects?

Breakouts aside, Octyl Palmitate is safe. Sure, it may cause irritations in high concentrations (40-50%), but that’s not an issue in skincare products. The concentrations are much lower there.

The Bottom Line

Octyl Palmitate makes skin softer and smoother and enhances the texture and feel of skincare products. It’s safe, but comedogenic.

What are your thoughts on Octyl Palmitate in skincare?