Trilinoleic Acid

What Is It?

Linoleic Acid is a straight chain unsaturated fatty acid. It is a colorless oil that is prepared from edible fats and oils. Dilinoleic Acid and Trilinoleic Acid consist of two and three units of Linoleic Acid linked together, respectively. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of many types of products including bath products, body and hand preparations, cleansing products, eye makeup, makeup, nail care products, skin care preparations and hair care products.

Why Is It Used?

The following functions have been reported for Linoleic Acid, Dilinoleic Acid and Trilinoleic Acid.

  • Hair conditioning agent: Linoleic Acid
  • Skin conditioning agent – miscellaneous: Linoleic Acid
  • Skin conditioning agent – occlusive: Dilinoleic Acid, Trilinoleic Acid
  • Surfactant – cleansing agent: Linoleic Acid
  • Viscosity increasing agent – nonaqueous: Trilinoleic Acid

Scientific Facts

Linoleic Acid is abundant in many vegetable oils including safflower and sunflower seed oils. It is considered an essential fatty acid as it must be supplied by the diet. Dimerization of Linoleic Acid results in Dilinoleic Acid, also called dimer acid. Trimerization of Linoleic Acid results in Trilinoleic Acid, also called trimer acid.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Linoleic Acid on its list of direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The FDA permits dimers, for example Dilinoleic Acid, and trimers, for example Trilinoleic Acid, of fatty acids to be used as indirect food additives as defoaming agents in the manufacture of paper and paperboard.

FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Linoleic acid and dimers and trimers of fatty acids:

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) reviewed the safety of a mixture of Linoleic Acid and linolenic acid when used as a flavoring agent in food. They concluded that there was no safety concern at current levels of intake.

Link to the JECFA Summary: 

Linoleic Acid, Dilinoleic Acid and Trilinoleic Acid 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:…


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