Stearic acid (Octadecanoic acid) is a saturated fatty acid with 18 carbon atoms in length that can be derived from animal or plant oils. Octadecanoic acid is a significant component of famous skincare ingredients like cocoa and shea butters. It is a white, waxy solid, and safe food-grade ingredient that helps to emulsify, thicken, bind, and stabilize lotions and creams.
Thanks to multiple beneficial properties, Stearic acid is used in skin care preparations as a surfactant, thickening agent, solubilizer, emulsifier, pacifier, and softening agent. It is an excellent oil-in-water emulsifier and emulsion stabilizer, keeping oil and water-based phases of formulation in a stable homogeneous consistency while improving sensory profile with a pleasant feel on the skin.
Applied topically, Octadecanoic acid incorporates into the lipid layer of the epidermis, improving barrier functions while leaving a moisturizing effect. In addition, reaching skin fibroblasts, which can metabolize it via beta-oxidation, Stearic acid provides additional energy, nourishing and boosting their functions.
Thanks to a dual structure of the molecule with polar and lipophilic parts, Stearic acid is a perfect penetration enhancer that temporarily binds to biologically active ingredients like beta-carotene and passes through the lipid barrier speeding up delivery with high concentrations and improving the effectiveness of the formula.
It is a natural, safe, environment-friendly, and biodegradable ingredient used in many types of formulations, from liquid to solid. Stearic acid protects, cleanses, and moisturizes skin leaving it fresh, healthy, and radiant.