Dodecane at a glance

  • An alkane hydrocarbon with light emollient properties
  • Feels weightless yet helps ensure supple, smooth skin
  • May be plant-derived or synthetic
  • Deemed safe as used in cosmetics

Dodecane description

Dodecane is a hydrocarbon ingredient, meaning it’s composed of the elements carbon and hydrogen. It belongs to the alkane class, a group of saturated, chemically inert emollients that help prevent water loss from skin and lend a supple texture to skin’s surface. Of particular note is that dodecane has very light, nearly weightless feel despite its emollient nature. It may be derived from plants or made synthetically (Paula’s Choice uses the former). It’s supplied as a clear, free-flowing liquid. Dodecane has a wide usage range in cosmetics, from 1–75% depending on desired aesthetics and attributes. For example, much higher levels are used in hair care serums as a replacement for one or more silicones. It is considered non-irritating and safe as used in cosmetics.

Dodecane references

  • Food and Chemical Toxicology, Supplement 1, December 2020, ePublication
  • Toxicology Letters, November 2004, pages 255–266

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