• Derived from: coconut palm tree
  • Pronunciation: (\ˌī-sə-ˈprō-pəl\ pal-mə-ˌtāt)
  • Type: Naturally-derived

What Is Isopropyl palmitate?

Isopropyl palmitate is a colorless and almost odorless liquid substance made from palm oil and/or animal fats. Palm oil typically comes from palm trees, which are native to western Africa but grow throughout tropical areas around the world.[1,2] Their seeds produce the oil.[3] Isopropyl palmitate is used in hundreds of personal care and cosmetic products, including sunscreen, deodorant, perfumes, and other items.[4,5]

What Does Isopropyl palmitate Do in Our products?

Isopropyl palmitate acts as a moisturizer in our products by helping bind moisture to the skin. It is also an emollient, which helps products spread smoothly, and it can be used as a fragrance ingredient.[6] It dissolves in oil but not in water.[7]

Why Puracy Uses Isopropyl palmitate

We use isopropyl palmitate in several of our products as a moisturizer. The Personal Care Council has deemed isopropyl palmitate and other cetyl esters safe for use in cosmetics. The Personal Care Council and several studies have also deemed isopropyl palmitate non-irritating to slightly irritating to the skin, as well as non-sensitizing.[11,12,13] Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards.[14] Studies show it can help the skin absorb other ingredients.[15]

How Isopropyl palmitate Is Made

Isopropyl palmitate is produced by transesterification of methyl ester with isopropyl alcohol. The process includes the removal of methanol by distillation or esterification of the fatty acid with isopropyl alcohol.[8,9] Isopropyl palmitate is a cetyl ester, which is the International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) name for a wax composed of a mixture of esters of saturated fatty acids and fatty alcohols. Cetyl esters is a constituent of a broader group of cosmetic ingredients, the alkyl esters, which consist of the reaction products of fatty acids and alcohols.[10]


[1] Personal Care Council
[2] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[3] Fattore, E. & Fanelli, R., “Palm oil and palmitic acid: a review on cardiovascular effects and carcinogenicity,” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, August 2013; 64(5): 648-659
[4] Personal Care Council
[5] Environmental Working Group
[6] Personal Care Council
[7] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[8] BASF
[9] Personal Care Council
[10] Personal Care Council
[11] Personal Care Council
[12] Christian M., ed; Journal of American College of Toxicology, 1 (2): 13-35 (1982)
[13] European Commission, ESIS, “IUCLID Dataset, Isopropyl Palmitate,” (142-91-6) p. 24 (2000 CD-ROM edition). Available from, as of May 12, 2010
[14] Whole Foods Market
[15] Guo, H., et al., “Effects if isopropyl palmitate on the skin permeation of drugs,” Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, (2006) Nov: 29(10):2324-6

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