Is Stearyl Alcohol Bad For Skin?

Is Stearyl Alcohol Bad For Skin
Stearyl Alcohol is also fatty alcohol that acts similarly to cetyl alcohol. They both improve skin texture while protecting the skin from allergens, bacteria, and moisture loss. Both cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are listed by the FDA as non-sensitizing, non-toxic, and safe.

What does stearyl alcohol do to your skin?

Benefits of Stearyl Alcohol for Skin – On the flip side, because stearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol, “it’s not drying, non-irritating, and usually beneficial when used consistently,” says Lain. “It acts as an emollient, leaving the skin feeling smooth and soft by forming a protective layer on the surface and helping to prevent moisture loss.” It’s often combined with cetyl alcohol (another fatty alcohol) to create cetearyl alcohol, which also has emollient properties, says Hayag.

Is stearyl alcohol safe for face?

More safety Information: – CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel noted that Stearyl is found naturally in various mammalian tissues and the metabolism of Stearyl Alcohol and Oleyl Alcohol in animals is well described. Due to the chemical nature and benign biological activity of these compounds, they are not suspected of significant potential for carcinogenesis, reproductive or developmental effects. If they are made from plants, Stearyl Alcohol, Oleyl Alcohol and Octyldodecanol may be used in cosmetics and personal care products according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union. Ingredients of animal origin must comply with the European Union animal by-products regulations.

  • Fatty alcohols, including Stearyl and Oleyl Alcohols occur in small quantities as components of wax esters in plants and animals.
  • The compounds serve to protect the outer surface of plants and animals from water loss.
  • Stearyl, Oleyl Alcohol and Octyldodecanol function as stabilizers, – emulsifying agents, antifoaming agents, and skin conditioning agents – emollient in cosmetics and personal care products.

: Stearyl Alcohol

Is stearyl alcohol bad for acne?

The Fatty Alcohols in Skincare – Called “wax” alcohols or “fatty” alcohols, this second group of alcohols in skin care that have completely different properties from those we mentioned above. These are typically derived from natural fats and oils, often from coconut and palm oil.

Glycol Cetyl alcohol Stearyl alcohol Cetearyl alcohol

Manufacturers like to use these alcohols for the following reasons:

Emulsifiers : These alcohols work as “emulsifiers,” which help mix water with oils to create nice, smooth creams and lotions. Emollients : Since these ingredients are naturally moisturizing, they’re included in many creams and lotions to hydrate the skin. Thickeners : People like thick, rich creams. They just feel good when you put them on. Fatty alcohols can help thicken a formula to the right consistency.

These alcohols are usually portrayed in more positive light than the others, as they are not drying or damaging. On the contrary, fatty alcohols in skincare products help to moisturize skin because of the natural fatty acid content. Those with sensitive skin, however, may want to avoid these as well.

Why? They have a reputation for causing irritation in sensitive folks. In a 1990 study, for example, researchers applied emulsifying agents, including cetyl stearyl alcohol, to real human patients. A total of 54 out of 737 experienced reactions to them—redness, inflammation, and the like. A later study with five fatty alcohols on 146 patients showed similar results, with just over 23 percent of the participants showing reactions to the alcohols—mostly to oleyl alcohol.

Note that these were patients who were already identified as having suspected reactions to cosmetic products, so if this describes you, it may be best to avoid alcohols altogether. A later 2011 study also referred to the possibility of reactions with coco- and lauryl glucosides, which are mixtures of fatty alcohols and glucose.

You’ll see these ingredients in some standard cleansing products and even in sunscreens.) There have also been some reports that these fatty alcohols like stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol in skin care may clog pores, exacerbating acne breakouts. A 1989 report on the pore-clogging characteristics of several cosmetic ingredients showed this to be the case, at varying degrees.

Cetearyl alcohol combined with ceteareth 20 alcohol—as well as isocetyl alcohol—had higher comedogenic ratings than cetyl alcohol alone or cetearyl alcohol alone, though all showed some pore-clogging activity. If you’ve been using so-called “gentle” skin care products that contain these ingredients and you’ve noticed more pimples or blackheads, this may be why.

Is stearyl alcohol safe for sensitive skin?

– Cetearyl alcohol is used to help soften the skin and hair and to thicken and stabilize cosmetic products, like lotions and hair products. As an emollient, cetearyl alcohol is considered an effective ingredient for soothing and healing dry skin, Unless you have very sensitive skin, you probably don’t need to avoid products containing cetearyl alcohol.

Is stearyl alcohol natural?

Stearyl alcohol – Stearyl alcohol is a thicker of cosmetic products, mainly creams and lotions. A natural alcohol which is derived from Vegetable source, Stearyl alcohol changes the viscosity and adds a to creams and lotions, whilst adding stability. Normally used 1 -3%, usage above 3% ca

Is stearyl alcohol actually alcohol?

Some consumers select “alcohol free” products because they believe ethyl alcohol dries out their skin or hair. For many years cosmetic manufacturers have marketed certain cosmetic products that do not contain ethyl alcohol (also known as ethanol, or grain alcohol) as “alcohol free.” However, “alcohols” are a large and diverse family of chemicals, with different names and a variety of effects on the skin.

  1. This can lead to some confusion among consumers when they check the ingredient listings on cosmetic labels to determine alcohol content.
  2. In cosmetic labeling, the term ” alcohol,” used by itself, refers to ethyl alcohol.
  3. Cosmetic products, including those labeled “alcohol free,” may contain other alcohols, such as cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, or lanolin alcohol.

These are known as fatty alcohols, and their effects on the skin are quite different from those of ethyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol, which some consumers may think of as drying the skin, is rarely used in cosmetics. To prevent the ethyl alcohol in a cosmetic from being diverted illegally for use as an alcoholic beverage, it may be “denatured.” This means that it contains an added “denaturant” that makes it undrinkable.

  1. Denatured ethyl alcohol may appear in the ingredient listing under several different names.
  2. You may see the abbreviation SD Alcohol (which stands for “specially denatured alcohol”), followed by a number or a number-letter combination that indicates how the alcohol was denatured, according to the formulary of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,

Among the specially denatured alcohols acceptable for use in various cosmetics are SD Alcohol 23-A, SD Alcohol 40, and SD Alcohol 40-B, The term “Alcohol Denat.” was introduced in Europe as a generic term for denatured alcohol in the interest of harmonizing ingredient names internationally.

Cosmetic Ingredient Names Cosmetic Labeling and Label Claims Products and Ingredients

March 7, 2000: This document is current and is updated only as needed.

Is stearyl alcohol non comedogenic?

If you are suffering from acne you and your esthetician should be aware of all cosmetic formulation side effects, but the comedogenicity also depends on the percentage of the incriminated ingredient. – If the ingredient is at the top of the ingredient listing and it is highly comedogenic, avoid using the product, if it is the last ingredient of the listing chances are you will be fine.

  • The realization that certain products, including makeup where responsible for causing acne-like effects became apparent during and after the Second World War, when it was found that people working with polychlorinated hydrocarbons developed comedones similar to those found in acne.
  • In 1956, Scientists developed a testing procedure using rabbits ears to study the effects of these chlorinated compounds.

Further testing in 1968 showed that human sebum applied to the external ear of the rabbit resulted in comedones. This discovery led to the implication in 1972 that the rabbit ear was a useful model for testing cosmetics and raw materials for comedogenic activity.

  • This induced acne-like condition became known as ” acne cosmetica “, and became the benchmark of significant exploration of this test procedure by several of the larger cosmetic companies at the time.
  • As research continued, studies proved that persistent eruption of acne-like comedones occurred in over 30% of adult women.
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This was attributed to certain base materials present in the cosmetics, such as isopropyl myristate. Half of the facial cosmetic products tested at the time, were found to be at least mildly comedogenic in the “rabbit ear test”. The “rabbit ear test” produced a measurable scale of comedogenicity, ranging from 1 to 5.

Grades 1 to 2 are considered non-to mildly comedogenic and grades 3 to 5 are considered significantly comedogenic. The ingredient score is displayed as a score out of 3 or 4. Example: 1/3, 2/3, 3/3, 3/4etc. When the score shown is 3/3, or 4/4, this means that the test ingredient produced a maximum score against the reference maximum.

Variations on concentrations affected the results of the tests, but certain strongly comedogenic materials remained severely irritating even when diluted to 5 and 10 %. Products with high concentrations of any of the substances with a rating of 1/3 or more should be avoided with acne prone skins.

  • Concentrations of substances with a rating of 2/3 – 3/4 should be avoided on any other than severely lipid dry skins, as they are severely comedogenic.
  • The substances in the following tables are commonly found in cosmetic products manufactured worldwide.
  • They have been grouped together in chemical types for ease of comparison.

It is not uncommon for several of these substances to be found in the one product. Table 1: Isopropyl Esters Isopropyl esters are widely used in cosmetics to produce a light, non-greasy, emollient that feels good on the skin. They are manufactured from various compounds including edible fats, oils and lanolin derivatives.

Chemical Rating/score
Isopropyl linoleate 3/3
Isopropyl myristate 3/3
Isopropyl palmitate 2/3
Isopropyl lanolate 3/3
Isopropyl isostearate 3/3
Di isopropyl adipate 0/3

Table 2: Silicones

Chemical Rating/score
Dimethicone 0/4
Dimethicone copolyol 0/4
Silicone wax, 10% in dimethicone 0/4
Stearoxy dimethicone, 10% in dimethicone 0/4
Cyclomethicone 0/4

None of the silicones commonly used as a base in ointments and skin protectants tested as comedogenic. Table 3: Surfactants & pigments The emulsifier and surfactant sodium lauryl sulphate, although non-comedogenic, shows conflicting results possibly from it’s high degree of irritancy.

Chemical Rating/score
Sodium lauryl sulphate, 5% in water 3/4
Sodium lauryl sulphate 1% in water 2/3
Iron oxides, 25% in propylene glycol 0/4
Titanium dioxide, 25% in propylene glycol 0/4

Table 4: Hydrocarbons Because of the properties of hydrocarbons, they are used in the cosmetic industry quite extensively as lubricants in lipsticks and in creams, as it helps make them smoother and shiny. The oily film of hydrocarbon based ingredient helps to prevent evaporation of moisture, in addition to helping soften and smooth the skin in the same way as any other emollients.

Chemical Rating /score
Petroleum Distillate 1/3
Polyethylene, 50% in mineral oil 0/3
Polybutene 0/3
Petrolatum 1/3
Mineral Oil, light 1/3
Isoparaffin c8-9 0/3
Isoparaffin C9-11 1-2/3
Isoparaffin C11-13 0/3
Isoparaffin C13-16 2/3
Squalene 1/3

Mineral oil and petrolatum are shown to be mildly comedogenic, as are most high refinement petroleum products. However, some others are more comedogenic, this may be due to contamination. Both mineral oil and petrolatum are shown comedogenic because of their occlusive properties when used on incorrect skin conditions.

Chemical Rating /score
Oleic acid 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Decyl oleate 2/3
Isodecyl oleate 1/3
Oleth-2, 2% in propylene glycol 1/4

The data above also shows that dilution of oleyl alcohol within a non-comedogenic carrier substance such as propylene glycol will not significantly reduce the comedogenic effect. The severity of comedogenic reactions from oleic acid may be moderated in some formulations by glycerin, a non-comedogenic substance commonly used as a solvent, humectant or emollient.

As shown below, certain saturated acids and alcohol used as cosmetic lubricants and emollients have comedogenic potential. Table 6: Sorbitan / Methyl Glucose Sorbitans are generally found as emulsifiers and stabilisers in creams and lotions, and are insoluble in water. Sorbitan oleate is less comedogenic than oleic acid and sorbitan sesquioleate is non-comedogenic.

Oleic acids, when combined with sorbitan, reduce potential comedogenic effects. Similarly, Methyl glucose sesquistearate when combined with sorbitan, decyl or isodecyl, reduces comedogenic effects, but when used in combination with isopropyl alcohol or propylene glycol, may enhance comedogenicity.

Chemical Rating /score
Sorbitan laurate 0/3
Sorbitan oleate 2/3
Sorbitan sesquioleate 0/3
Polysorbate-60 0/3
Polysorbate-80 0/3
Methylgluceth sesquistearate 0/3
Methylgluco sesesquistearate 10% in propylene glycol 1/3

Table 7: Effects of physical dilution The real severity of comedogenic response is best demonstrated by dilution. In table 7 octyl palmitate, a typical ingredient in sunscreens, scores 3/3, as does oleyl alcohol (see table 5). The comedogenecy of octyl palmitate is reduced to 1/3 at 50% dilution, and 0/3 at 5%.

  1. Oleyl alcohol when similarly diluted remains 3/3 at 50% and is still 2/3 at 10%.
  2. Conclusions from this comparison indicate that oleyl alcohol is a far more comedogenic substance than octyl palmitate.
  3. People with acne prone skin conditions should therefore avoid products containing oleyl alcohol.
  4. They may however, tolerate small to moderate concentrations of octyl palmitate without adverse effects.

The emollient Isopropyl myristate, which scores 3/3 (see table 1) shows similar dilution characteristics as oleyl alcohol.

Chemical Rating /score
Octyl Palmitate, 100% 1/3
Octyl palmitate, 50% 1/3
Octyl palmitate, 5% 0/3

Table 8: Lactates Myristyl lactate is a relatively severe comedogenic ingredient used commonly in moisturisers and sunscreens. Its dilution to 50% in a propylene glycol base will not reduce its comedogenic score. However, when combined with cetyl alcohol, the severity of any reaction is significantly reduced.

Chemical Rating /score
Myristyl lactate 100% 2-3/3, 3/4
Myristyl lactate, 50% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Myristyl lactate, 50% in cetyl alcohol 0-1/4

Table 9: Effects of Un-saturation on Comedogenicity A relatively large number of vegetable oils used as emollients in moisturisers, soaps, cleansers and sunscreens, were found to show comedogenic effects ranging from 0/3 to 3/3. This is an alarming and embarrassing discovery for the Beauty Therapy industry, as many of these vegetable oils have been used as carriers in aromatherapy and massage oils for many years.

Chemical Rating /score
Capric/caprylic triglyceride 2/4
Hydrogenated vegetable oil 1/3
Coconut oil 2/3
Hydrogenated lard glyceride 0/3
Avocado oil 0/3
Castor oil 0/3
Peanut oil 1/3
Hybrid safflower oil 1-2/3
Peach kernel oil 2-3/3
Sweet almond oil 3/3
Grape seed oil 2-3/3
Sunflower seed oil 1/3

Table 10: Glycols and Glycol Esters Glycols are water-soluble substances commonly used in cosmetics as humectants. Table 10 shows the moderating effect of the noncomedogenic substances glycerin and propylene glycol. As a good rule of thumb, water-soluble materials are generally minimally comedogenic.

Glycerol and glycol stearates are minimally comedogenic, but are not moderated by dilution in propylene glycol. Glyceryl oleate, by virtue of it’s severely comedogenic cousin, decaglyceryl decaoleate, is probably at least moderately comedogenic. No data was available on glyceryl oleate itself, but the conclusion that it is comedogenic is drawn from the fats and oils studied in table 9.

Propylene glycol tends to prevent comedogenicity by modifying the molecular structure and chemically diluting any comedogenic elements.

Chemical Rating / score
Glycerin 0/3
Glyceryl stearate 0-1/3
Glyceryl stearate, 30% in propylene glycol 0-1/3
Glyceryl stearate, 10% in propylene glycol 0-1/3
Decaglyceryl decaoleate 2-3/3
Glyceryl triacetyl ricinoleate 0/3
Propylene glycol 0/3
Propylene glycol stearate 1/3
Propylene glycol decaprylate/dicaprate 0/3
Glycol stearate, 10% in propylene glycol 0-1/3

Table 11: Lanolin and Lanolin Derivatives Lanolin is a mildly comedogenic substance found in a variety of cosmetic products. Considered a wax rather than fat, an essential component of lanolin is cholesterol. Lanolin oil is a fluid fraction of lanolin and, as expected, has the same minimal score as lanolin.

Chemical Rating /score
Lanolin 0-1/3
Lanolin Oil 0-1/3
Lanolin alcohol, 100% 1/3
Lanolin alcohol, 10 % in mineral oil 1/3
Cholesterol 0/3
Lanolic acid 3/3
Lanolic acid, 10% in corn oil 3/3
Isopropyl lanolate 2-3/3
Hydrogenated lanolin 2/3
Acetylated lanolin alcohol 2-3/3
Laneth-5 1/3
Laneth-20 0/3
Laneth-10 acetate 2/4-1/3

This next group of substances (as seen in table 12, 13 and 14) is derived from a multitude of sources including fish, animals and plants. Myristyl, cetyl and stearyl alcohols are noncomedogenic, but unsaturated alcohol such as oleyl, isostearyl and octyl dodecanol are moderately to severely comedogenic.

  • Hexadecyl alcohol is also known to be severely comedogenic.
  • The acids in this group are more comedogenic than the equivalent alcohols.
  • Stearyl alcohol is minimally comedogenic while stearic acid scored higher.
  • Isostearic acid must be considered severely comedogenic because of the high score even at 10% dilution in propylene glycol.
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Table 12: Fatty Alcohols

Chemical Rating / score
Lauryl alcohol, 50% in mineral oil 1/3
Myristyl alcohol, 50% in mineral oil 0/3
Cetyl alcohol 0/3
Stearyl alcohol 0/3
Oleyl alcohol, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Isostearyl alcohol 3/3
Isostearyl alcohol, 10% in mineral oil 2/3
Octyl dodecanol 2/3

Table 13: Fatty Acids

Chemical Rating /score
Stearic acid 1/3
Stearic acid, 50% in mineral oil 1/3
Oleic acid 3/3
Isostearic acid, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Isostearic acid, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3

Table 14: Alcohols, Glycols and Polyglycols

Chemical Rating /score
Glycerin 0/3
PEG 200 0/3
PEG 300 0/3
PEG 8 0/3
Butylene glycol 0-1/3
Propylene glycol 0/3
Hexylene glycol 2/3
Benzyl alcohol 0/3
Ethyl hexane diol 0/3
Polypropylene glycol 15-200 0/3

Table 15: Assorted Esters and Ethers Both esters and ethers are derived from alcohols and used in the manufacture of emollients. Used to improve the feel or humectant qualities of cosmetics, they have been found to be mildly to severely comedogenic. Many are commonly used as moisture carrying vehicles instead of water, and although giving better permeation through the skin, they are often linked to sensitivity reactions.

Those listed below are commonly used in the industry. As shown, even when diluted with propylene glycol they show very small changes in the comedogenicity. Butyl stearate and oleyl alcohol are in the extra severe class, promoting comedogenicity on minimally comedogenic substances even when diluted down to concentrations of 5%.

Cosmetics containing these materials should be avoided by people with oily or acne prone skins.

Chemical Rating /score
Triethyl citrate, water soluble 0/3
PPG 2 myristyl propionate 0/3
Myristyl myristate 2/3
Myristyl propionate 2/3
Myreth 3 myristate, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Myreth 3 myristate, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
PPG 15 stearyl ether 2/2
Isocetyl stearate 0/3
C12-C15 alcohols benzoate 3/3
Butyl stearate, 100% 2/3
Butyl stearate, 5% in mineral oil 1/3
Isostearyl neopentanoate 0/3
Isodecyl isononanate 15-200 0/3

Helene Lawless 2020-06-17T15:23:12-07:00

What is the difference between cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol?

Summary – Cetyl Alcohol vs Stearyl Alcohol – Both cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol are fatty alcohols. The key difference between cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol is that cetyl alcohol has 16 carbon atoms, whereas stearyl alcohol has 18 carbon atoms. Therefore, the IUPAC name of cetyl alcohol is hexadecan-1-ol. The IUPAC name of stearyl alcohol is octadecan-1-ol.

Which alcohol is bad for acne?

While people prone to rosacea should probably avoid red wine, which can worsen the condition, Ingleton explains, acne sufferers like me might want to stick to clear liquors ‘like tequila or vodka’ and skip the sugary mixers.

What alcohol is OK for acne?

Rum For No Acne – Is Stearyl Alcohol Bad For Skin Believe it or not, rum is loved for its antibacterial properties. If you are prone to acne and pimples, rum is your thing. Its soothing ingredients calms your acne and clears away the bacteria. You can mix rum and rose water in 1:2 ratio and apply it to the affected area.

Does stearyl alcohol dry skin?

Stearyl Alcohol Description This versatile ingredient also has cleansing and foam-boosting properties and isn’t considered drying on skin. Stearyl alcohol is also known as 1-octadecanol, and in its raw form is a white, waxy substance.

Is stearyl alcohol a silicone?

Pros – Stearyl dimethicone is a non-greasy silicone that adds a silky gloss to hair and improves pigment dispersion. It is safe to use on skin and hair and often used because of the silky feel or slip it gives to hair without being or looking greasy.

What is stearyl alcohol made of?

HOW IS IT MADE? – Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health. Stearyl alcohol is derived from coconut and palm kernel oils. The oils are converted to alcohol, distilled and hydrogenated into stearyl alcohol.

Does stearyl alcohol dry skin?

Stearyl Alcohol Description This versatile ingredient also has cleansing and foam-boosting properties and isn’t considered drying on skin. Stearyl alcohol is also known as 1-octadecanol, and in its raw form is a white, waxy substance.

Is stearyl alcohol for skin comedogenic?

If you are suffering from acne you and your esthetician should be aware of all cosmetic formulation side effects, but the comedogenicity also depends on the percentage of the incriminated ingredient. – If the ingredient is at the top of the ingredient listing and it is highly comedogenic, avoid using the product, if it is the last ingredient of the listing chances are you will be fine.

  1. The realization that certain products, including makeup where responsible for causing acne-like effects became apparent during and after the Second World War, when it was found that people working with polychlorinated hydrocarbons developed comedones similar to those found in acne.
  2. In 1956, Scientists developed a testing procedure using rabbits ears to study the effects of these chlorinated compounds.

Further testing in 1968 showed that human sebum applied to the external ear of the rabbit resulted in comedones. This discovery led to the implication in 1972 that the rabbit ear was a useful model for testing cosmetics and raw materials for comedogenic activity.

This induced acne-like condition became known as ” acne cosmetica “, and became the benchmark of significant exploration of this test procedure by several of the larger cosmetic companies at the time. As research continued, studies proved that persistent eruption of acne-like comedones occurred in over 30% of adult women.

This was attributed to certain base materials present in the cosmetics, such as isopropyl myristate. Half of the facial cosmetic products tested at the time, were found to be at least mildly comedogenic in the “rabbit ear test”. The “rabbit ear test” produced a measurable scale of comedogenicity, ranging from 1 to 5.

Grades 1 to 2 are considered non-to mildly comedogenic and grades 3 to 5 are considered significantly comedogenic. The ingredient score is displayed as a score out of 3 or 4. Example: 1/3, 2/3, 3/3, 3/4etc. When the score shown is 3/3, or 4/4, this means that the test ingredient produced a maximum score against the reference maximum.

Variations on concentrations affected the results of the tests, but certain strongly comedogenic materials remained severely irritating even when diluted to 5 and 10 %. Products with high concentrations of any of the substances with a rating of 1/3 or more should be avoided with acne prone skins.

  • Concentrations of substances with a rating of 2/3 – 3/4 should be avoided on any other than severely lipid dry skins, as they are severely comedogenic.
  • The substances in the following tables are commonly found in cosmetic products manufactured worldwide.
  • They have been grouped together in chemical types for ease of comparison.

It is not uncommon for several of these substances to be found in the one product. Table 1: Isopropyl Esters Isopropyl esters are widely used in cosmetics to produce a light, non-greasy, emollient that feels good on the skin. They are manufactured from various compounds including edible fats, oils and lanolin derivatives.

Chemical Rating/score
Isopropyl linoleate 3/3
Isopropyl myristate 3/3
Isopropyl palmitate 2/3
Isopropyl lanolate 3/3
Isopropyl isostearate 3/3
Di isopropyl adipate 0/3

Table 2: Silicones

Chemical Rating/score
Dimethicone 0/4
Dimethicone copolyol 0/4
Silicone wax, 10% in dimethicone 0/4
Stearoxy dimethicone, 10% in dimethicone 0/4
Cyclomethicone 0/4

None of the silicones commonly used as a base in ointments and skin protectants tested as comedogenic. Table 3: Surfactants & pigments The emulsifier and surfactant sodium lauryl sulphate, although non-comedogenic, shows conflicting results possibly from it’s high degree of irritancy.

Chemical Rating/score
Sodium lauryl sulphate, 5% in water 3/4
Sodium lauryl sulphate 1% in water 2/3
Iron oxides, 25% in propylene glycol 0/4
Titanium dioxide, 25% in propylene glycol 0/4

Table 4: Hydrocarbons Because of the properties of hydrocarbons, they are used in the cosmetic industry quite extensively as lubricants in lipsticks and in creams, as it helps make them smoother and shiny. The oily film of hydrocarbon based ingredient helps to prevent evaporation of moisture, in addition to helping soften and smooth the skin in the same way as any other emollients.

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Chemical Rating /score
Petroleum Distillate 1/3
Polyethylene, 50% in mineral oil 0/3
Polybutene 0/3
Petrolatum 1/3
Mineral Oil, light 1/3
Isoparaffin c8-9 0/3
Isoparaffin C9-11 1-2/3
Isoparaffin C11-13 0/3
Isoparaffin C13-16 2/3
Squalene 1/3

Mineral oil and petrolatum are shown to be mildly comedogenic, as are most high refinement petroleum products. However, some others are more comedogenic, this may be due to contamination. Both mineral oil and petrolatum are shown comedogenic because of their occlusive properties when used on incorrect skin conditions.

Chemical Rating /score
Oleic acid 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Decyl oleate 2/3
Isodecyl oleate 1/3
Oleth-2, 2% in propylene glycol 1/4

The data above also shows that dilution of oleyl alcohol within a non-comedogenic carrier substance such as propylene glycol will not significantly reduce the comedogenic effect. The severity of comedogenic reactions from oleic acid may be moderated in some formulations by glycerin, a non-comedogenic substance commonly used as a solvent, humectant or emollient.

As shown below, certain saturated acids and alcohol used as cosmetic lubricants and emollients have comedogenic potential. Table 6: Sorbitan / Methyl Glucose Sorbitans are generally found as emulsifiers and stabilisers in creams and lotions, and are insoluble in water. Sorbitan oleate is less comedogenic than oleic acid and sorbitan sesquioleate is non-comedogenic.

GOOD AND BAD ALCOHOLS DOCTOR V| SKINCARE Skin of colour| BROWN/DARK SOC| DR V drv

Oleic acids, when combined with sorbitan, reduce potential comedogenic effects. Similarly, Methyl glucose sesquistearate when combined with sorbitan, decyl or isodecyl, reduces comedogenic effects, but when used in combination with isopropyl alcohol or propylene glycol, may enhance comedogenicity.

Chemical Rating /score
Sorbitan laurate 0/3
Sorbitan oleate 2/3
Sorbitan sesquioleate 0/3
Polysorbate-60 0/3
Polysorbate-80 0/3
Methylgluceth sesquistearate 0/3
Methylgluco sesesquistearate 10% in propylene glycol 1/3

Table 7: Effects of physical dilution The real severity of comedogenic response is best demonstrated by dilution. In table 7 octyl palmitate, a typical ingredient in sunscreens, scores 3/3, as does oleyl alcohol (see table 5). The comedogenecy of octyl palmitate is reduced to 1/3 at 50% dilution, and 0/3 at 5%.

  1. Oleyl alcohol when similarly diluted remains 3/3 at 50% and is still 2/3 at 10%.
  2. Conclusions from this comparison indicate that oleyl alcohol is a far more comedogenic substance than octyl palmitate.
  3. People with acne prone skin conditions should therefore avoid products containing oleyl alcohol.
  4. They may however, tolerate small to moderate concentrations of octyl palmitate without adverse effects.

The emollient Isopropyl myristate, which scores 3/3 (see table 1) shows similar dilution characteristics as oleyl alcohol.

Chemical Rating /score
Octyl Palmitate, 100% 1/3
Octyl palmitate, 50% 1/3
Octyl palmitate, 5% 0/3

Table 8: Lactates Myristyl lactate is a relatively severe comedogenic ingredient used commonly in moisturisers and sunscreens. Its dilution to 50% in a propylene glycol base will not reduce its comedogenic score. However, when combined with cetyl alcohol, the severity of any reaction is significantly reduced.

Chemical Rating /score
Myristyl lactate 100% 2-3/3, 3/4
Myristyl lactate, 50% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Myristyl lactate, 50% in cetyl alcohol 0-1/4

Table 9: Effects of Un-saturation on Comedogenicity A relatively large number of vegetable oils used as emollients in moisturisers, soaps, cleansers and sunscreens, were found to show comedogenic effects ranging from 0/3 to 3/3. This is an alarming and embarrassing discovery for the Beauty Therapy industry, as many of these vegetable oils have been used as carriers in aromatherapy and massage oils for many years.

Chemical Rating /score
Capric/caprylic triglyceride 2/4
Hydrogenated vegetable oil 1/3
Coconut oil 2/3
Hydrogenated lard glyceride 0/3
Avocado oil 0/3
Castor oil 0/3
Peanut oil 1/3
Hybrid safflower oil 1-2/3
Peach kernel oil 2-3/3
Sweet almond oil 3/3
Grape seed oil 2-3/3
Sunflower seed oil 1/3

Table 10: Glycols and Glycol Esters Glycols are water-soluble substances commonly used in cosmetics as humectants. Table 10 shows the moderating effect of the noncomedogenic substances glycerin and propylene glycol. As a good rule of thumb, water-soluble materials are generally minimally comedogenic.

  1. Glycerol and glycol stearates are minimally comedogenic, but are not moderated by dilution in propylene glycol.
  2. Glyceryl oleate, by virtue of it’s severely comedogenic cousin, decaglyceryl decaoleate, is probably at least moderately comedogenic.
  3. No data was available on glyceryl oleate itself, but the conclusion that it is comedogenic is drawn from the fats and oils studied in table 9.

Propylene glycol tends to prevent comedogenicity by modifying the molecular structure and chemically diluting any comedogenic elements.

Chemical Rating / score
Glycerin 0/3
Glyceryl stearate 0-1/3
Glyceryl stearate, 30% in propylene glycol 0-1/3
Glyceryl stearate, 10% in propylene glycol 0-1/3
Decaglyceryl decaoleate 2-3/3
Glyceryl triacetyl ricinoleate 0/3
Propylene glycol 0/3
Propylene glycol stearate 1/3
Propylene glycol decaprylate/dicaprate 0/3
Glycol stearate, 10% in propylene glycol 0-1/3

Table 11: Lanolin and Lanolin Derivatives Lanolin is a mildly comedogenic substance found in a variety of cosmetic products. Considered a wax rather than fat, an essential component of lanolin is cholesterol. Lanolin oil is a fluid fraction of lanolin and, as expected, has the same minimal score as lanolin.

Chemical Rating /score
Lanolin 0-1/3
Lanolin Oil 0-1/3
Lanolin alcohol, 100% 1/3
Lanolin alcohol, 10 % in mineral oil 1/3
Cholesterol 0/3
Lanolic acid 3/3
Lanolic acid, 10% in corn oil 3/3
Isopropyl lanolate 2-3/3
Hydrogenated lanolin 2/3
Acetylated lanolin alcohol 2-3/3
Laneth-5 1/3
Laneth-20 0/3
Laneth-10 acetate 2/4-1/3

This next group of substances (as seen in table 12, 13 and 14) is derived from a multitude of sources including fish, animals and plants. Myristyl, cetyl and stearyl alcohols are noncomedogenic, but unsaturated alcohol such as oleyl, isostearyl and octyl dodecanol are moderately to severely comedogenic.

  • Hexadecyl alcohol is also known to be severely comedogenic.
  • The acids in this group are more comedogenic than the equivalent alcohols.
  • Stearyl alcohol is minimally comedogenic while stearic acid scored higher.
  • Isostearic acid must be considered severely comedogenic because of the high score even at 10% dilution in propylene glycol.

Table 12: Fatty Alcohols

Chemical Rating / score
Lauryl alcohol, 50% in mineral oil 1/3
Myristyl alcohol, 50% in mineral oil 0/3
Cetyl alcohol 0/3
Stearyl alcohol 0/3
Oleyl alcohol, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Oleyl alcohol, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
Isostearyl alcohol 3/3
Isostearyl alcohol, 10% in mineral oil 2/3
Octyl dodecanol 2/3

Table 13: Fatty Acids

Chemical Rating /score
Stearic acid 1/3
Stearic acid, 50% in mineral oil 1/3
Oleic acid 3/3
Isostearic acid, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Isostearic acid, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3

Table 14: Alcohols, Glycols and Polyglycols

Chemical Rating /score
Glycerin 0/3
PEG 200 0/3
PEG 300 0/3
PEG 8 0/3
Butylene glycol 0-1/3
Propylene glycol 0/3
Hexylene glycol 2/3
Benzyl alcohol 0/3
Ethyl hexane diol 0/3
Polypropylene glycol 15-200 0/3

Table 15: Assorted Esters and Ethers Both esters and ethers are derived from alcohols and used in the manufacture of emollients. Used to improve the feel or humectant qualities of cosmetics, they have been found to be mildly to severely comedogenic. Many are commonly used as moisture carrying vehicles instead of water, and although giving better permeation through the skin, they are often linked to sensitivity reactions.

  • Those listed below are commonly used in the industry.
  • As shown, even when diluted with propylene glycol they show very small changes in the comedogenicity.
  • Butyl stearate and oleyl alcohol are in the extra severe class, promoting comedogenicity on minimally comedogenic substances even when diluted down to concentrations of 5%.

Cosmetics containing these materials should be avoided by people with oily or acne prone skins.

Chemical Rating /score
Triethyl citrate, water soluble 0/3
PPG 2 myristyl propionate 0/3
Myristyl myristate 2/3
Myristyl propionate 2/3
Myreth 3 myristate, 50% in propylene glycol 3/3
Myreth 3 myristate, 10% in propylene glycol 2-3/3
PPG 15 stearyl ether 2/2
Isocetyl stearate 0/3
C12-C15 alcohols benzoate 3/3
Butyl stearate, 100% 2/3
Butyl stearate, 5% in mineral oil 1/3
Isostearyl neopentanoate 0/3
Isodecyl isononanate 15-200 0/3

Helene Lawless 2020-06-17T15:23:12-07:00

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