Sodium Dehydroacetate: Why Is It In My Skincare?



What Is Sodium Dehydroacetate?

Sodium dehydroacetate is a preservative that is used in the formulation of cosmetics and skincare products. Preservatives are an important part of the formulation process they help to prevent your product from becoming contaminated by bacteria and molds as well as extend the shelf life and safety.

Preservatives have received a bit of a bad reputation in the beauty industry of late. This reputation is mostly undeserved, without preservatives products would only last weeks and could lead to irritation, sensitivity, and infection if they weren’t included in the formula.  

Sodium Dehyroacetate

the good:Sodium dehydroacetate is a preservative that prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi. This helps to improve the safety of the product and increase its shelf life.

the not so good:Nothing to keep an eye on here.

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:You may also find sodium dehydroacteate in food products and beverages.

Why Is Sodium Dehydroacetate Used?

Sodium dehydroacetate is the sodium salt of dehydroacetic acid, a fungicide, and bactericide that is commonly used as a food preservative. Fungicides have the ability to kill fungi or their spores, whereas bactericides are capable of destroying bacteria. This means that sodium dehydroacetate is able to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in your products. 

Dehydroacetic acid, a related ingredient, is an effective preservative, however, it is almost insoluble in water. This limits its use in cosmetics formulations as many of these types of products have a water base. This is why sodium dehydroacetate is used as it has a greater solubility in water.

In addition to use in the cosmetic industry, sodium dehydroacetate can be used as a food preservative. It is used extensively in sauce, fruit, bread, cake, moon cake, margarine, and beverages. Sodium dehydroacetate has the E number E266. It is a white crystalline powder with no odor. 

What Are The Benefits of Sodium Hydroactetate?

In cosmetics and skincare products, sodium dehydroacetate functions as an antimicrobial preservative. 

It is used in a wide variety of products, including bath products, skincare products, sunscreens, fragrances, shaving products, hair, and nail care products, as well as eye and facial makeup. 

Sodium dehydroacetate is an effective antimicrobial ingredient, even at low concentrations, less than and equal to 0.6%, against both bacteria and fungi.

The use of preservatives in cosmetics is important because these types of products have a high potential for microbial contamination and growth. The most susceptible products are creams and lotions that are packaged in jars, opened frequently, and applied to the skin with the fingers. 

Inadvertent contamination may also occur after the use of makeup brushes around the eyes or other parts of the face that touch the skin and the cosmetic repeatedly. Each use increases the chance of contamination. Furthermore, contamination may occur if you leave a product container open for an extended period of time.

The way you store your products is also a major cause of microbial contamination in cosmetics and skincare products. The majority of products are stored at room temperature, the warm temperature can stimulate the growth of microorganisms, fostering the growth of bacteria, yeasts, molds, and fungi. Plus, the ingredients used in cosmetic formulations, such as water, oils, peptides, and carbohydrates, create the perfect environment for microorganism growth.

Microbial contamination can lead to significant health problems, from skin irritation to infections. To avoid these problems, a strong yet non-irritating preservative must be added to the formulation of a product. Sodium dehydroacetate fits both of these criteria. The use of sodium dehydroacetate in cosmetic formulations ensures that the product performs effectively over the time it takes for you to finish the product.

Is Sodium Dehydroacetate Vegan?

Sodium dehydroacetate is a vegan ingredient. However, it is always best to check that the other ingredients in the product are vegan as well. Be sure to check the brand’s cruelty-free accreditation as well. 

Is Sodium Dehydoracetate Safe?

The safety of sodium dehydroacetate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for the independent evaluation of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. 

The available data suggests that sodium dehydroacetate is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, non-photosensitizing, and non-phototoxic. After evaluating the scientific data, the Expert Panel concluded that sodium dehydroacetate was safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use and concentration.

CIR, 1985. ‘Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Dehydoacetate and Dehydroacetic Acid’, International Journal of Toxicology, vol. 4, no.3.



Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds. Read More


The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read More

Recommended Articles