Why Is Octyldodecanol Used? - The Dermatology Review

Why Is Octyldodecanol Used?



What Is Octyldodecanol?

Octyldodecanol is a skincare and cosmetic ingredient that is used to improve the texture of products. It is often used in moisturizers and lip products due to its emollient and lubricating abilities. 

Octyldodecanol is a long-chain fatty alcohol. While it has alcohol in its ingredient type, octyldodecanol isn’t drying to the skin, in fact, helps to retain moisture. Octyldodecanol is a clear colorless liquid and is often used in products such as cleansers, eye makeup, foundations, conditioners, moisturizers, and lip balms. 

Now to get a little technical, octyldodecanol is a branched-chain fatty acid. It has a higher molecular weight than other non-volatile alcohols so it doesn’t readily penetrate the skin. This makes it a great barrier ingredient. It is produced from natural fats and oils through the process of reduction of the fatty acid to produce an alcohol.


the good: Helps to improve the texture of formulations. It may also help to protect the skin from moisture loss.

the not so good: Octyldodecanol is considered to be too big to penetrate the skin so poses little risk to health.

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 Octyldodecanol Used?

Octyldodecanol is primarily used to improve the texture of formulations. It helps to form emulsions and prevents the separation of the oil and water-based ingredients. Ocyldodecanol also acts as a lubricant, improving the appearance of the skin, giving it that soft smooth look. 

The other little benefit of octyldodecanol is that it prevents the ingredients in a formulation from foaming when shaken. This improves the stability of the product during transport and use. 

Is Octyldodecanol Safe?

The safety of octyldodecanol has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for evaluating the safety and efficacy of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. In their evaluation, the Expert Panel determined that octyldodecanol was safe for use in its current indications and concentrations. This determination was reviewed in 2004 and was reaffirmed. 

Su R, Yang L, Wang Y, et al. Formulation, development, and optimization of a novel octyldodecanol-based nanoemulsion for transdermal delivery of ceramide IIIB. Int J Nanomedicine. 2017;12:5203-5221. Published 2017 Jul 21.
CIR, 2001. ‘Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate’, International Journal of Toxicology, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 51-59.


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