Sodium Palmitate


Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Sodium Palmitate at a glance

  • Sodium salt of palmitic acid
  • Surfactant + emulsifying and viscosity increasing agent
  • Ruled safe as used in skin care
  • Can be drying to skin when formulated in a cleanser
  • Typical usage in leave-on products is 0.06-4.1%

Sodium Palmitate description

Sodium palmitate is a saturated fat found in fatty substances including olive oil, palm oil, and body lipids. From a chemistry standpoint, it is the sodium salt of the fatty acid palmitic acid. This ingredient may be animal- or plant-derived or made synthetically. In cosmetics, sodium palmitate functions as a cleansing ingredient (surfactant) and as an emulsifying and viscosity increasing agent. While it has been ruled safe as used in skin care products, because it is commonly formulated at an alkaline pH when used as a cleansing agent (usually in soap products), it can be drying to skin. In its raw form sodium palmitate is a white to yellow powder. Its typical usage levels in leave-on cosmetics formulas range from 0.06-4.1%.

Sodium Palmitate references

  • PubChem, Accessed March 2023, Website
  • Special Chem, Accessed March 2023, Website
  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review, March 2019, Website

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.