• Derived from: coconut
  • Pronunciation: (\stē-ˌar-ik\ˈa-səd\)
  • Type: Naturally-derived

What Is Stearic acid?

A fatty acid that occurs naturally in animal and plant fats (typically coconut or palm oil),[1] stearic acid is white, solid, often crystalline, and with a mild odor.[2] It’s a major component of cocoa and shea butter.[3]

How Is Stearic Acid Made?

Stearic acid is a fatty acid typically produced by hydrolysis of common animal and vegetable fats and oils, followed by fractionation (distillation or crystallization) of the resulting fatty acids. Pressing methods separate the liquid unsaturated fatty acids from the solid saturated fatty acids.

Stearic acid used in cosmetics is usually pressed two or three times, resulting in different concentrations.[4] Cosmetic-grade stearic acids are usually mixtures of fatty acids, depending on how they’re manufactured and where they come from (often they’re combined with palmitic acid).[5] There are several grades of stearic acid available commercially.[6]

Stearic Acid Uses 

Stearic acid is an emulsifier, emollient, and lubricant that can soften skin and help to keep products from separating.[7] Stearic acid is used in hundreds of personal care products, including moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, soap, and baby lotion.[8] It is also used in adhesives, lubricants, laundry products and paper products.[9] Research shows that the ingredient may help burns heal.[10,11]

Stearic Acid Safety

Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards, and studies show the ingredient is not a skin irritant.[12,13,14,15,16,17] The Cosmetics Ingredient Review has deemed stearic acid as safe for use in cosmetics.[18] 

Certifications

 

Sources

[1] American Cleaning Institute
[2] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[3] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[4] Personal Care Council
[5] Personal Care Council
[6] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[7] Personal Care Council
[8] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[9] Environmental Working Group

[10] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[11] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[12] Whole Foods Market
[13] Butcher, E.O. (1951). “The effects of application of various substances in the epidermis of the rat.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 16, 88
[14] CTFA. (Aug. 14, 1974). Submission of unpublished data. (3-3-10). Safety evaluation of 2.0 percent Stearic Acid in 01 B/62568-)(6020). Four-week subacute dermal toxicity study in rabbits
[15] CTFA. (Aug. 14, 1974). Submission of unpublished data (3-3-16). Four-week subacute dermal toxicity study in rabbits: 2.0 percent Stearic Acid
[16] CTFA. (July 11, 1980) Submission of unpublished data. (3-3-21). Study project 0135. The safety evaluation of two sun protection products and one facial skin care product. Thirteen-week subchronic dermal toxicity study in albino female rats on 5.0 percent Stearic Acid
[17] CTFA. (Aug. 18, 1982). Submission of unpublished data. (3-3-15). Study project 0191. The safety evaluation of three make-up products: 2.4 percent Stearic Acid in 036/18218-12. Thirteen-week subchronic dermal toxicity study using female albino rats
[18] Personal Care Council

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts natural cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.