Ethylhexyl Palmitate - The Dermatology Review

Ethylhexyl Palmitate

ARTICLE

09.25.20 AD DISCLOSURE

Why Is Ethylhexyl Palmitate Used In Skincare?

Ethylhexyl palmitate is an ingredient that is used to improve the texture, feel, and the scent of skincare and cosmetic products. It functions as an emollient, solvent, and fragrance fixative. 

Ethylhexyl palmitate is an ester of 2-ethylhexyl alcohol and palmitic acid. 2-ethylhexyl alcohol can be found in natural plant fragrances and also synthetically produced. Palmitic acid is the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals, plants and microorganisms, and is a major component of palm oil. Ethylhexyl palmitate is a clear, colorless liquid at room temperature with a slightly fatty odor. It is insoluble in water but mildly dissolves in oils. 

Ethylhexyl palmitate

the good:As an emollient, ethylhexyl palmitate can help reduce the appearance of dry flaky skin. Ethylhexyl palmitate is also used to improve the texture and sensory feel of formulations.     

the not so good:Can produce eye irritation in high concentrations. However, those concentrations are not in the scope of skincare products.  

Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it. 

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients 

Keep an eye on:Nothing to keep an eye on here. 

Why Is Ethylhexyl Palmitate Used?

In cosmetics and skincare products, ethylhexyl palmitate functions as an emollient, solvent, and fragrance fixative.

Moisture
As an emollient, ethylhexyl palmitate helps to keep the skin moist and supple by reducing water loss from the top layers of the skin. Emollients also act as lubricants by reducing friction when anything rubs against the skin. Ethylhexyl palmitate is considered to be a non-occlusive emollient, which means it does not form a film on the surface of the skin. It is often used as an organic replacement to silicones in a cosmetic formulation because it provides a dry-slip, silky feel that is very similar to how a silicone would feel.

While all skin types can benefit from emollients like ethylhexyl palmitate, emollients are very beneficial for those who have dry, rough, and/or flaky skin. Emollients can treat these symptoms, leaving the skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. In addition, emollients may be suitable for those that suffer from conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or other inflammatory skin conditions.

Solvent
Ethylhexyl palmitate functions as a solvent by helping other ingredients dissolve. Solvents can also increase the efficacy of active ingredients in a formulation by enhancing their absorption through the skin.

Appearance
Another function of ethylhexyl palmitate in cosmetics is as a pigment wetting agent. Wetting agents work by reducing the interfacial tension between two different types of ingredients in a cosmetic formulation. Wetting agents are useful in makeup as they improve the pigment or color distribution in the formulation. Think about even eyeshadow or foundation pigment.  

Fragrance
Lastly, ethylhexyl palmitate functions as a fragrance fixative in cosmetics and skincare products. A fixative helps to equalize the volatile fragrance components making them last longer and remain more stable on the skin. 

Is Ethylhexyl Palmitate Safe?

The safety of ethylhexyl palmitate and other alkyl esters has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group that evaluates the safety of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. In their findings, the Expert Panel was able to determine that ethylhexyl palmitate doesn’t show any evidence of toxicity or irritation. It does produce some very mild eye irritation in higher concentrations, usually outside the concentrations used in skincare and cosmetic products. The Expert Panel concluded that ethylhexyl palmitate and other alkyl esters were safe as cosmetic ingredients.

References:
Cosmetic Ingredient Review, 1990. ‘ Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Octyl Palmitate, Cetyl Palmitate and Isopropyl Palmitate’, International Journal of Toxicology.  

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