Octadecenedioic Acid



Octadecenedioic Acid at a glance

  • Olive-derived compound known as a carboxylic acid
  • Plays a novel role in helping to fade discolorations
  • Uncommon to see in cosmetics, but not known to be a problem for skin
  • May play a role in helping skin feel smoother

Octadecenedioic Acid description

Octadecenedioic acid is a carboxylic acid, which refers to a group of acids whose carbon and oxygen atoms are double bonded to a single-bonded hydrogen-oxygen combination. Carboxylic acids have a wide variety of uses in cosmetics, from smoothing and softening skin to easing redness and providing antimicrobial properties that help keep a cosmetic safe from contaminants. Back to octadecenedioic acid, which is often referred to the scientific research as 9-octadecenedioic acid: it’s plant-derived (from olives) and studies show it plays a novel role in interrupting excess melanin via binding to enzymatic receptor sites on skin’s surface that help encourage normal, even skin color. The recommended usage level for octadecenedioic acid in skin care with the goal of improving dark spots is 2%. Although this is a promising ingredient, it’s rarely used in cosmetics; however, it’s not known to be problematic for skin.

Octadecenedioic Acid references

  • UL Prospector website, accessed April 2023
  • Frontiers in Plant Science, November 2019, pages 1–14
  • Indian Journal of Dermatology, November-December 2017, pages 558–577
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences, December 2009, pages 5,236–5,349
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, April 2005, pages 123–132

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.