Isopropyl palmitate is an ester of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and palmitic acid (a fatty acid). Palmitic acid is the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals, plants, and microorganisms. It is also a major component of palm oil. Isopropyl palmitate may be produced synthetically or derived from plant and animal sources.
In cosmetics and personal care products, isopropyl palmitate functions as an emollient and texture enhancer. As an emollient, isopropyl palmitate works to soften and soothe the skin after topical application. It also enhances the texture of a formulation by increasing thickness while improving spreadability. Additionally, isopropyl palmitate is used in pressed products as a binder to hold the ingredients together. Isopropyl palmitate can potentially be problematic for those with oily skin since it is known to be comedogenic (pore-clogging).