Is It Comedogenic? – Beautiful With Brains

If you’re avoiding silicones like the plague, you may be familiar with Octyl Palmitate. It’s a common (and cheap) alternative. But, what is it exactly? There’s nothing wrong with silicones (yes, really), but if you don’t want to use them, you’ll probably hope the alternative is a natural one. And what does it do in skincare? Does it have any special properties for your skin that makes them even better than silicones? And most importantly, is it safe for everyone, including sensitive skin and pregnant women? So many questions, so little answers… Wait, I do have all the answers. Let’s find out:

What Is Octyl Palmitate?
First things first: Octyl Palmitate is best known as Ethylhexyl Palmitate. Isn’t it annoying when skincare ingredients have more than one name?! And not one of them something you can easily remember… Just saying…
This clear liquid is an ester of 2-ethylhexyl alcohol and palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is a common saturated fatty acid naturally found in animas and plants – and a major component of palm oil. If If that’s a dealbreaker for you, avoid products that use it.
You can make Octyl Palmitate in a lab or produce it from natural plant fragrances. At room temperature, it looks like a clear, colourless liquid.

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What Does Octyl Palmitate Do In Skincare?
Octyl Palmitate is often used as a substitute for silicones and mineral oil thanks to its dry-slip feel. Like silicones, it’s a multitasker too:

Emollient: It reduces water loss, keeping skin hydrated for longer. Hydrated skin is smoother, smoother, and plumper. The best part? It leaves no greasy residue on. It’s a dry emollient that feels just like silicones.
Fragrance fixative: It helps perfume or scent stick to the skin, so they last longer. Good in perfumes, not so good in skincare products (fragrance can be irritating for sensitive skin).
Lubricant: It reduces friction when you rub it against your skin, making application smoother.
Pigment wetting agent: A fancy way of saying it helps to improve the distribution of pigments in a formulation, so they don’t all accumulate in one spot.
Solvent: It helps dissolve other ingredients into a solution. This also helps enhance the penetration of active ingredients, so they work better and faster.

Related: Is Fragrance In Skincare As Bad As Paula Begoun Says?
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Octyl Palmitate (Ethylhexyl Palmitate)?

BeautyBio The Nightly Retinol Repair Serum ($95.00): A retinal serum that helps reduce wrinkles and fade away dark spots in a moisturising and soothing base. Available at BeautyBio and Ulta.
Bioderma Cicabio Creme ($10.00): A no-frills moisturising cream with sugar-derived humectants that draw moisture into your skin and Centella Asiatica to soothe irritations. Available at Beauty Bay and Boots.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($41.00): A silky cleansing balm with natural oils that melt makeup and impurities while moisturising skin. Available at Boots, Clinique, Look Fantastic, Sephora, and Ulta.

Is Octyl Palmitate Comedogenic?
Yes. Like all ingredients with Palmitate in the name (Isopropyl Palmitate, Myristyl Palmitate, etc), Octyl Palmitate can clog pores and make you breakout. Now, don’t freak out. Just because something could make you breakout, it doesn’t mean you will. It’s more likely to happen if you have oily/acne-prone skin and are using a cream with a high amount of Octyl Palmitate. Tiny doses are usually safe for oily skin, too. But if you’re acne-prone and see Octyl Palmitate in the top 5 ingredients on the label, run away!
Related: What Skincare Ingredients Are Comedogenic?
Octyl Palmitate Side Effects
Breakouts aside, Octyl Palmitate is safe for everyone, including sensitive skin and pregnant women. Sure, it may cause irritations in high concentrations (40-50%), but that’s not an issue in skincare products. The concentrations are much lower there.
The Bottom Line
Octyl Palmitate makes skin softer and smoother and enhances the texture and feel of skincare products. It’s safe for everyone, but can clog pores and cause acne in acne-prone skin.

About Gio
Hi, I’m Gio. I’m a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is skin coach and writer on a mission to help you achieve your best skin day ever – every day. I bust skincare myths and debunk marketing jargon to help you figure out what’s worth the splurge and what’s best left on the shelf – using science, not hype. I also offer skincare consultations to help you create the best skincare routine for your unique needs.

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