Dimethyl Isosorbide



No known benefits

Dimethyl Isosorbide at a glance

  • Synthetic or plant-derived solvent
  • Helps control the viscosity of cosmetics
  • Permits controlled, sustained delivery of antioxidants
  • Considered safe and non-irritating as used in cosmetics

Dimethyl Isosorbide description

Dimethyl isosorbide is a clear, slightly oily-feeling liquid that functions as a solvent. It may be plant-based or synthetic. This ingredient is also used to decrease the thickness of products, such as keeping a liquid in its fluid form rather than letting it revert to a lotion (or, in cosmetics chemistry parlance, an emulsion with higher viscosity). Another desirable function of dimethyl isosorbide is to allow controlled, sustained delivery of key ingredients such as antioxidants, so they can, in theory, provide stronger and longer-lasting benefits. Use levels of dimethyl isosorbide in cosmetics range from 1–10% depending on desired aesthetics and which ingredients, if any, may need help penetrating past skins’ surface and doing so in a more controlled manner to reduce risk of irritation. It’s considered non-irritating to skin and eyes.

Dimethyl Isosorbide references

  • International Journal of Pharmaceutics, April 2020, ePublication; and October 2012, pages 38-49
  • ChemSusChem, May 2010, issue 5, pages 566-570
  • Skin Pharmacology and Applied Physiology, issue 6, October 2008, pages 326-334

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.