Palmitic Acid


Occlusive-opacifying agent

No known benefits

Palmitic Acid at a glance

  • Fatty acid found naturally in skin
  • The most common fatty acid found in animals, plants, and microorganisms
  • Functions as a detergent cleansing agent, emulsifier, and emollient
  • Determined safe as used in cosmetics

Palmitic Acid description

Palmitic acid is a fatty acid found naturally in skin, as well as in palm oil, palm kernel oil, butter, cheese, and meat. It is the most common fatty acid found in animals, plants, and microorganisms. It is used as the basis for many palmitate ingredients, such as isopropyl palmitate. Palmitic acid has many functions in cosmetics, such as a detergent cleansing agent and an emollient. In a cleanser, it has the potential to be drying depending on which other ingredients it’s combined with and the cleanser’s pH level. In moisturisers, palmitic acid is a very good emollient while its emulsifying abilities help keep unlike ingredients from separating. Palmitic acid has been determined safe as used in cosmetics when used in concentrations up to 13%.

Palmitic Acid references

  • Journal of Archives in Military Medicine, November 2020
  • PLoS One, October 2018, ePublication
  • Biophysical Chemistry, August 2010, issues 1-3, pages 144-156
  • Journal of Korean Medical Science, June 2010, pages 980-983
  • Dermaviduals, 2003, issue 4, pages 54-56

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.