Sorbitan Isostearate


Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Sorbitan Isostearate at a glance

  • Similar to the liquid fatty acid isostearic acid
  • Works as a mild cleansing agent and emulsifier
  • Helps stabilise water-in-oil formulas
  • Not prone to breaking down when exposed to air

Sorbitan Isostearate description

Sorbitan isostearate is a mild cleansing agent and emulsifier made by combining portions of fatty acid isostearic acid with the sugar ingredient sorbitol. It may be derived from plants, made synthetically, or animal-derived, although the latter form has fallen out of favour (Paula’s Choice Skincare uses the plant-derived form). Amounts as low as 2% can be used to stabilise emulsions, and its safety has been established in concentrations up to 25%, although sorbitan isostearate is rarely used above 10% concentration in skin care formulas.

Sorbitan Isostearate references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, September 2019, pages 60S-80S
  • Chromatographia, May 2009, pages 157-164

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