Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate

What Is It?

Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, also called Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate or Sodium Docusate, is a waxy solid. It is used in the formulation of a wide variety of topical products, including bath products, blushers, body and hand preparations, foundations, shaving creams and skin-care products.

Why Is It Used?

Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate enhances the water solubility of other cosmetic ingredients. It also helps form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified and functions as a surfactant or cleansing agent.

Scientific Facts

Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, often referred to as Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, is an anionic surfactant used in a variety of applications, including cosmetics and personal-care products, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, and as a food additive.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate and approved its use as a multipurpose food additive. The safety of Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate was assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel reviewed the scientific data and concluded that Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate was safe as used in topical cosmetic formulations at concentrations up to 5%.

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel acknowledged that under the exaggerated exposure conditions of occlusive patch tests, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate is a cumulative irritant, but not a sensitizer.

The CIR Expert Panel recognized that under exaggerated test conditions, surfactants would be expected to produce some irritation. The CIR Expert Panel stressed that care should be taken to avoid irritancy, especially in those products intended for prolonged contact with the skin.

FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate (under the name Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate).…

Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an Acceptable Daily Intake of 0-0.1 mg/kg body weight for Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate.

More Scientific Information

Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate is the sodium salt of the diester of a 2-Ethylhexyl Alcohol and Sulfosuccinic Acid. It functions as a surfactant – cleansing agent and surfactant – hydrotrope in cosmetic products.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory