Sorbic Acid



No known benefits

Sorbic Acid at a glance

  • Preservative naturally derived from mountain ash berries
  • Used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi
  • In addition to cosmetics, it is also used to preserve foods
  • Ruled safe as used in cosmetics

Sorbic Acid description

Sorbic acid is a preservative naturally derived from mountain ash (also known as rowan) berries or manufactured synthetically. Its name, sorbic acid, comes from the taxonomic name of mountain ash, _Sorbus aucuparia_. Sorbic acid is used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi. Its safety and effectiveness make it useful in a variety of products, including several foods, cosmetics, and even contact lens solutions. It tends to work best at an acidic pH of 4.5 or lower. In its raw form, sorbic acid is a white, crystalline powder. The independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review board has ruled sorbic acid safe as used up to 0.6% in cosmetics.

Sorbic Acid references

  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2018, pages 276-284
  • Cosmetics & Toiletries, November 2012, pages 756-762
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Issue 31, pages 451-460
  • International Journal of Toxicology, November 1988, pages 837-880

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