Know Your Ingredients: Glyceryl Stearate

glyceryl stearate

What it is
Glyceryl Stearate (also called Glyceryl Monostearate) is a white or cream-coloured solid made from glycerin and stearic acid (a fatty acid obtained from animal and vegetable fats and oils).

What it does
Glyceryl Stearate is a skin conditioning agent. It forms a barrier on the skin’s surface, thus reducing water loss. It softens and moisturizes skin and hair.
In addition, Glyceryl Stearate acts as a solvent, helps form emulsions and stabilize a product as well as preventing it from forming surface crusts.

Side effects
Glyceryl Stearate is a very mild irritant and can cause allergic reactions.

10 Comment

  1. Dao, sometimes the most common ingredients are the most overlooked too, but it’s still useful to know what they’re doing. I’m glad you were right about it too :)

  2. Glyceryl stearate is really just an emulsifer. It doesn’t really do much of any of the other things you are suggesting here. It is also very very unlikely to cause much in the way of allergic reactions at the levels it is normally used at.
    Colin´s last blog post ..Benzyl AlcoholMy Profile

    • Colin, thanks for your comment. The Cosmetics Cop and Cosmeticsinfo.org state that Glyceryl Stearate is also an emollient, skin lubricant and thickener so that’s why I included those functions in the post. I guess it’s used mainly as an emulsifier and just sometimes for other reasons, then.

      I agree with you that there really isn’t much chance of it causing a negative reaction but I thought I would point that out for people whose skin is very sensitive and gets irritated easily.

      • That happened to me. I used a product containing glyceral stearate 3 times on my hands. I developed redness and itching. It took 4 days of a 1% steroid cream to alleviate the problem.

  3. Beautifulwithbrains, than you for covering all the basis. I am one of those with sensitive skin and a ‘natural’ deodorant product I’m using works good, but it irritates my skin. It could be any of the ingredients but Glyceryl Sterate was the first one I investigated.

    • Beti, you’re welcome. I’m sorry the deodorant you’re using is irritating your skin. I hope you can figure out what the culprit is.

    • Erika, frankly I don’t know what the best ingredients for making candles are because I never made them myself. I don’t think I have ever seen this one in any candles though.

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