Isopropyl Myristate

What Is It?

Myristic Acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in some foods. Purified Myristic Acid occurs as a hard, white or faintly yellow, glossy crystalline solid, or as a white or yellow-white powder. Salts of Myristic Acid (Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristate, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Magnesium Myristate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Zinc Myristate) and esters of Myristic Acid (Butyl Myristate, Cetyl Myristate, Decyl Myristate, Ethylhexyl Myristate, Ethyl Myristate, Glyceryl Dimyristate, Glyceryl Isostearate/Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate, Isobutyl Myristate, Isocetyl Myristate, Isodecyl Myristate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Myristate, Isotridecyl Myristate, Lauryl Myristate, Methyl Myristate, Myristyl Myristate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Oleyl Myristate, Propylene Glycol Myristate, Tetradecyloctadecyl Myristate, Tridecyl Myristate) may also be used in cosmetics and personal care products. Myristic Acid and its salts and esters may be used in eye makeup, soaps and detergents, hair care products, nail care products, shaving products and other skin care products.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

The following functions have been reported for Myristic Acid and its salts and esters.

  • Anticaking agent – Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristates, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Magnesium Myristate, Zinc Myristate
  • Binder – Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Myristate, Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate
  • Emulsion stabilizer – Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristates, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate
  • Film former – Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate
  • Hair conditioning agent – Ethyl Myristate, Isotridecyl Myristate, Lauryl Myristate, Oleyl Myristate
  • Opacifying agent – Myristic Acid, Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate
  • Slip modifier – Magnesium Myristate, Zinc Myristate
  • Skin-Conditioning Agent – Emollient – Butyl Myristate, Ethylhexyl Myristate, Ethyl Myristate, Glyceryl Dimyristate, Glyceryl Isostearate/Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate, Isobutyl Myristate, Isodecyl Myristate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Myristate, Methyl Myristate, Propylene Glycol Myristate
  • Skin-conditioning agent – occlusive – Cetyl Myristate, Decyl Myristate, Isocetyl Myristate, Isotridecyl Myristate, Lauryl Myristate, Myristyl Myristate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Oleyl Myristate, Tetradecyloctyldecyl Myristate, Tridecyl Myristate
  • Surfactant – cleansing agent – Myristic Acid, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate
  • Surfactant – emulsifying agent – Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Glyceryl Isostearate/Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate, Propylene Glycol Myristate
  • Viscosity increasing agent – nonaqueous – Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristates, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Magnesium Myristate, Zinc Myristate

Scientific Facts:

Myristic Acid, also called tetradecanoic acid, occurs naturally in vegetable or animal fats and oils with relatively high levels found in nutmeg, palm oil, coconut oil and butter fat. The salts of Myristic acid are formed by reaction with base materials such as sodium or potassium hydroxide. The esters of Myristic Acid are derived from Myristic Acid and an alcohol. For example, Isopropyl Myristate is derived from Myristic Acid and isopropyl alcohol, and Butyl Myristate is derived from Myristic Acid and butyl alcohol.

Safety Information:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits fatty acids, including Myristic Acid to be directly added to food. The safety of Myristic Acid and its salts and esters (Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristate, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Magnesium Myristate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Zinc Myristate, Butyl Myristate, Cetyl Myristate, Decyl Myristate, Ethylhexyl Myristate, Ethyl Myristate, Glyceryl Dimyristate, Glyceryl Isostearate/Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate, Isobutyl Myristate, Isocetyl Myristate, Isodecyl Myristate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Myristate, Isotridecyl Myristate, Lauryl Myristate, Methyl Myristate, Myristyl Myristate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Oleyl Myristate, Propylene Glycol Myristate, Tetradecyloctadecyl Myristate, Tridecyl Myristate) has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel concluded that Myristic Acid and its salts and esters were safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use and concentration.

More safety Information:

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel recognizes that the salts of Myristic Acid dissociate to form Myristic Acid and esters of Myristic Acid are hydrolyzed to their corresponding alcohols and Myristic Acid which are then further metabolized. Myristic Acid is a digestible constituent of most vegetable and animal fats and is nontoxic when ingested. Following oral exposure, Butyl Myristate and Ethyl Myristate were not toxic. Dermal exposure indicated that Myristic Acid and Butyl Myristate were not irritating. Myristic Acid, Isopropyl Myristate and Myristyl Myristate were minimally irritating to the eyes. Ethyl Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate and Isopropyl Myristate were not sensitizers. Isopropyl Myristate was negative in genotoxicity tests and was not carcinogenic.

Based on the structural similarities of these compounds, and the knowledge that in the body similar metabolites are formed, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that Myristic Acid, Aluminum Dimyristate, Aluminum Isostearates/Myristate, Aluminum Myristate, Aluminum Myristates/Palmitates, Calcium Myristate, Magnesium Myristate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Myristate, Zinc Myristate, Butyl Myristate, Cetyl Myristate, Decyl Myristate, Ethylhexyl Myristate, Ethyl Myristate, Glyceryl Dimyristate, Glyceryl Isostearate/Myristate, Glyceryl Myristate, Isobutyl Myristate, Isocetyl Myristate, Isodecyl Myristate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Myristate, Isotridecyl Myristate, Lauryl Myristate, Methyl Myristate, Myristyl Myristate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Oleyl Myristate, Propylene Glycol Myristate, Tetradecyloctadecyl Myristate and Tridecyl Myristate were safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use and concentration.

FDA Code of Federal Regulations for fatty acids Myristic Acid and its salts and esters may be used in cosmetics and personal care products in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union. If these ingredients are derived from animal sources, they must comply with the European Union animal by-products regulations. 

More Scientific Information:

Myristic Acid is a saturated fatty acid with 14 carbon atoms. In cosmetics and personal care products, Myristic Acid functions as an opacifying agent and a surfactant – cleansing agent. Among the salts and esters of Myristic Acid that may be used in cosmetics and personal care products, Isopropyl Myristate is most likely to be used. Isopropyl Myristate, the ester of Myristic Acid and isopropyl alcohol, is also used in topical medications. In cosmetics and personal care products, Isopropyl Myristate functions as a binder, and skin-conditioning agent – emollient.