Set of various beauty products

Isopropyl myristate is found in several everyday beauty products and is generally considered safe for consumer use. Despite its popularity with manufacturers, some side effects have been reported. It is generally safe, although some people with skin conditions may wish to avoid products containing it.

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What is isopropyl myristate?

Isopropyl myristate is used as a thickening agent or as a moisturizer in common beauty products. It is a synthetic oil that actually lessens the "greasy" or oily feeling found in some lotions and creams, while aiding in absorption. While it is widely used in health items, isopropyl myristate is also used as a way to treat head lice and in a mouthwash that kills bacteria.

List of places found

The colorless liquid is used in makeup, perfumes, deodorants, tanning gels, lotions, shampoos and aftershave among other items. Specific products include Parissa warm wax kit, Rea Lo 30 urea cream, CVS foot cream, Lamisil fungus AT cream, Jonel polish corrector, IMAN perfect eye pencil in black shimmer, Jolen cream bleach with aloe vera, Chapstick lip balm regular and Dermablend compact cover cream rose beige. A list of more than 1,000 products can be found online at the Cosmetics Database.

What are the side effects?

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review expert panel has analyzed scientific data and found isopropyl myristate to be safe for use in cosmetics. The panel did another evaluation in 2002 and came to the same conclusion. While the panel deemed it safe, research shows there is a small chance of skin irritation, clogged pores and acne inflammation. In one report, 5 percent of participants reported having such side effects. Nonetheless, isopropyl myristate is not considered to be carcinogenic or toxic.

What do experts say about it?

The consensus among skin experts seems to be that isopropyl myristate is generally safe for consumers with healthy, normal skin. Some even say oily, thick creams are better to use in the winter time and encourage usage to prevent moisture loss. At the same time, dermatologists say the only time individuals should avoid using products with this ingredient are if they are acne-prone or young children under the age of 4.


In conclusion, many of the products isopropyl myristate is found in do not come in to contact with the face--foot cream, antiperspirant and perfume. Only individuals who are prone to breakouts and have a history of sensitive skin should avoid using facial items with this ingredient.