New ingredients

No known benefits

Isobutane at a glance

  • Colorless, odorless gas
  • Used as a propellant for aerosol cans
  • Considered nontoxic as used in cosmetics
  • Has Generally Recognized As Safe status as a food ingredient

Isobutane description

Isobutane is a colorless and odorless gas used as a propellant for aerosol cans (think spray sunscreens and hairspray). It occurs in small amounts in petroleum and natural gas but is produced in a refinery process that removes contaminants. Isobutane is considered nontoxic as used in cosmetics, where it is included at levels far below those deemed unsafe. In addition to its use as an aerosol propellant, isobutane is also commonly employed as a refrigerant, and is even considered a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food ingredient such as for whipped toppings used on desserts.

Isobutane references

  • Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, December 1999, pages 3-22

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.