What You Don’t Know About Isopropyl Palmitate and Its Use in Skincare

You might be surprised to learn that isopropyl palmitate, a synthetic ingredient found in cosmetics, isn’t something to be afraid of. In fact, it’s a common ingredient that’s safe for use in cosmetic products. Let’s explore its uses.
Isopropyl Palmitate

What Is Isopropyl Palmitate?

Isopropyl palmitate is a synthetic (man-made) chemical that is used as an emollient, thickener, and lubricant in cosmetics and personal care products. Emollients help to smooth and soften the skin. Thickening agents increase the viscosity of a product, and lubricants provide a slippery feel.

Isopropyl palmitate is a fatty alcohol ester. This means it is made by combining alcohol and acid molecules. In the case of isopropyl palmitate, the alcohol used is isopropanol (also known as rubbing alcohol) and the acid molecule is palmitic acid, which is derived from palm oil.

Isopropyl palmitate is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid. It has a light, oily texture that makes it ideal for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

How Does Isopropyl Palmitate Benefit the Skin?

Isopropyl palmitate is often used as an emollient in cosmetic products. Emollients are substances that help to smooth and soften the skin. They work by filling in the spaces between cells and creating a protective barrier on the surface of the skin. This barrier helps to prevent water loss and keeps the skin hydrated.

Isopropyl palmitate is also used as a thickening agent in cosmetics. Thickening agents are added to products to increase their viscosity, or thickness. This property makes isopropyl palmitate ideal for use in creams and lotions.

Finally, isopropyl palmitate is used as a lubricant in cosmetics. Lubricants provide a slippery feel and help to disperse ingredients evenly. This property makes isopropyl palmitate ideal for use in foundations and other makeup products.

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Beauty Products Containing Isopropyl Palmitate

Isopropyl palmitate is a common ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. It can be found in products such as:

  • moisturizers;
  • creams;
  • lotions;
  • foundations;
  • eyeshadows;
  • blushes;
  • powders.

How Safe Is It?

The safety of isopropyl palmitate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR is a cosmetics industry-sponsored organization that evaluates the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics.

The CIR Expert Panel concluded that isopropyl palmitate was safe for use in cosmetics, provided that the concentration did not exceed 15%. In addition, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has assessed the safety of isopropyl palmitate and concluded that it is safe for use in cosmetics at concentrations up to 15%.

Side Effects

Although isopropyl palmitate is considered safe for use in cosmetics, some people may experience side effects when using products that contain this ingredient. Some of the potential side effects of isopropyl palmitate include:

  • skin irritation;
  • eye irritation;
  • allergic reactions.

If you experience any of these side effects, you should discontinue use of the product and consult a doctor.

Other Uses of Isopropyl Palmitate

In addition to its use in cosmetics, isopropyl palmitate is also used as a food additive. It is used as an emulsifier in processed foods such as:

  • breads;
  • cakes;
  • cookies;
  • ice cream;
  • pudding;
  • salad dressings.

Isopropyl palmitate is also used as a lubricant in food processing. It is often added to prevent sticking and to help ingredients flow evenly.

Isopropyl palmitate is considered safe for use in food. The European Union has set the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for isopropyl palmitate at 0-0.45 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified isopropyl palmitate as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

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