Close-up of a woman's face nose down and her neck, applying face cream on a chin

What is it? A compound of isopropyl alcohol and palmitic acid that is used commonly as a thickening agent. It is an easily spreadable man-made thickening and emollient agent; its main function is to make products feel soft and look shiny. Isopropyl myristate can often be found in beauty products as well and is a major ingredient in a can of penetrating rust remover, Liquid Wrench.

HEALTH RISK: Known to be comedogenic (pore-clogging), it also causes flare-ups of pustular acne. The thickness of the chemicals in isopropyl palmitate can deprive the skin of nutrients such as as oxygen. If the skin doesn’t breathe, your pores can become clogged and healthy skin cells can die. This can also lead to dry, flaky skin. In addition, industry tests on rabbits indicate the chemical can cause skin irritation and dermatitis. This is a cheap way to make products feel nice and last longer but it’s bad for your skin, especially if you’re prone to breakouts!

how to avoid: Products labelled ‘oil-free’ are not always the best bet. Oil-like synthetics can still be included under this labeling. Look for products with naturally-occurring emollients and moisturizers like cold-pressed plant oils.

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