No known benefits

Perfluorodecalin at a glance

  • Synthetic ingredient, classified as a perfluorocarbon
  • Solvent and texture-enhancing ingredient that may increase oxygen to skin
  • May boost reactive oxygen species (ROS) in skin, which can age skin faster
  • Often used in “bubble masks”

Perfluorodecalin description

Perfluorodecalin is an inert (chemically inactive) ingredient often used in skin care products claiming to deliver extra oxygen to skin, which is purported to have anti-aging benefits. While it’s true that this synthetic perfluorocarbon can absorb and carry oxygen, that may not actually turn out to be such a good thing for skin as it increases the likelihood of unstable, skin-damaging reactive oxygen species (also known as ROS). On the flipside, outside the realm of cosmetics, there is some research showing that under certain conditions skin may benefit from increased oxygen (this pertains to use in medical settings). Perfluorodecalin may also be used as a solvent and texture enhancing agent in cosmetics. Products that contain perfluorodecalin include facial serums, moisturizers, gels and novelty “bubble masks” that create an airy foam-like effect on skin. It is almost always combined with similar ingredients and used in leave-on products in amounts up to 10%. Perfluorodecalin has been associated with a group of ingredients commonly known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). There is some amount of conflicting information regarding whether perfluorodecalin is truly a PFAS—some research literature indicates that it is, while others conclude that it isn’t. In the United States, PFAS are currently being monitored by the FDA for their impacts on health and safety. While the presently available research seems to indicate PFAS are unlikely to pose a health risk, the FDA has not drawn a definitive conclusion because the data is limited. Per the FDA, additional research is needed to determine: -toxicological profiles for PFAS in cosmetics -the extent to which various PFAS in cosmetics can be absorbed through the skin -the potential for human health risks from this type of exposure While the jury is still out on perfluorodecalin, overall it’s not an ingredient that brings significant benefit, and in reality, and likely hurts skin more than it helps.

Perfluorodecalin references

  • Science Direct Summary, Accessed September 2022, ePublication
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration, February 2022, ePublication
  • Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, October 2018, pages 1-116
  • Science Daily, July 2005, ePublication

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.