Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate 



Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate  at a glance

  • An emollient and surfactant formed by the combination of polyglycerin-4 + capric acid
  • As a skin-conditioning agent, it smooths and hydrates skin
  • Also works as a penetration enhancer for active ingredients, such as peptides
  • Commercially, it can be synthetic or plant-derived, most often from rapeseed oil

Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate  description

Polyglyceryl-4 caprate is the ester of fatty acid capric acid and glycerin-derived polyglycerin-4 (a chain of 4 molecules of glycerin). It belongs to the polyglyceryl fatty acid esters family, a category of naturally or synthetically derived ingredients used both in food and cosmetics, where they work as surfactants, emulsifiers and skin-conditioners. Polyglyceryl-4 caprate is also used as a fragrance and/or oil solubilizer and is frequently used in combination with other polyglyceryl esters. Chemically they are polar or amphiphilic lipids, meaning they dissolve in both water and oil and work as emulsifies to disperse all ingredients and stabilize a formula. In essence, polyglyceryl-4 caprate is versatile! Ingredients in this family can serve as penetration enhancers for ingredients that have low affinity for skin, helping a cosmetic produce more effective results. In a skin care product, polyglyceryl-4 caprate also works as a conditioning and hydrating agent, locking moisture on the skin and preventing it from evaporating too quickly. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (CIR) reviewed 274 polyglyceryl fatty acid esters, including polyglyceryl-4 caprate, in 2023 and concluded they are safe in cosmetics in the current practices of use and concentrations and when formulated to be non-irritating. Polyglyceryl-4 caprate is safe at concentrations between 0.5 and 1.5% in leave-on and rinse-off products.

Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate  references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, August 2023, pages 5S–101S
  • Polymers, February 2020, pages 1–13
  • European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, November 2018, pages 137-144

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.