Fragrance Synthetic and Natural

No known benefits

Pentadecalactone at a glance

  • A fragrant skin care ingredient with a musky, powdery scent
  • Also referred to as cyclopentadecanolide
  • Can sensitize skin due to volatile aromatic compounds
  • Is also used in the personal care and household goods industries

Pentadecalactone description

Pentadecalactone is a lactone (chemically, a cyclic ester) and synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics for its musky, powdery scent. It’s often also referred to as cyclopentadecanolide. Although the synthetic form of this ingredient is used in cosmetics, pentadecalactone is also found in Angelica root oil and produced naturally as a pheromone by apocrine sweat glands in male armpits. Research has proven this fragrant ingredient can sensitize skin. Pentadecalactone contains volatile aromatic compounds that can cause short-term and long-term sensitization including dryness, flaking and tightness. In lighter-to-medium skin tones this sensitization can appear as redness and in darker skin tones it can appear as purple, ashy or darkened spots on skin. Outside of the cosmetics industry, pentadecalactone is used in the household goods industry as a fragrance in products ranging from dryer sheets to cleaners.

Pentadecalactone references

  • Food and Chemical Toxicology, March 2022, ePublication
  • Personal Care Product Council, Accessed January 2024, Webpage
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology, December 2011, pages S193-S201

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.