You’ve started using a new moisturizer that promises to keep your skin soft, supple and younger for longer, but after a week your face resembles a war zone instead! Pimples have popped up all over it! You want to throw that awful product away and never see it again, but first you need to take a closer look at the ingredient list to find out what the culprit is so that it won’t happen again.
You focus on the first 5 ingredients as those are more likely to cause problems, but you can’t see any of the usual suspects. No silicones, no mineral oil.. but there’s Isopropyl Myristate. Could it be it? And what is it anyway? You do a google search but lots of contradicting information comes up. Some says it is comedogenic, others that it’s perfectly safe. So, what’s the truth?
What’s Isopropyl Myristate and why is in my cosmetics anyway?
Isopropyl Myristate is an ester (a substance formed from the reaction between an acid and an alcohol via the elimination of water) of Myristic Acid, a fatty acid that is found in many foods. In cosmetics, Isopropyl Myristate, which has a silky feeling, is used as a skin and hair conditioning agent. This means that it makes both skin and hair soft, smooth and supple. In addition, it is also used in many creams and lotions to reduce the greasy feel of other oils that are present in the formula. Thus, instead than oily, the cream feels slicker and lighter when you apply it on the skin.
Is Isopropyl Myristate comedogenic?
A few decades ago, several laboratories conducted tests on rabbits to determine whether Isopropyl Myristate was comedogenic. However, the results were contradictory. Some scientists found that Isopropyl Myristate caused the formation of comedones on rabbits’ ears, while others had the opposite results. But whether this ingredient makes rabbits break out doesn’t matter much anyway, because animals and humans are different and just because something is comedogenic for them doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on us. So, does that mean that Isopropyl Myristate isn’t comedogenic?
Personally, I, or better my skin, is sceptical. It is true that there isn’t any scientific proof that says Isopropyl Myristate causes pimples and blackheads yet, but every single time I’ve slathered it on my face, I’ve broken out. At first I thought something else in the formula was causing the problem, but nope. In the past 15 years, in which I’ve tried a gazillion of different products in my search for my HG skincare routine, I’ve learned that my combination skin can tolerate pretty much anything, but not Isopropyl Myristate (nor its cousins Isopropyl Palmitate and Myristyl Myristate). I’ve also learnt that this applies only to my face.
The skin of my body is dry, and there I can slather Isopropyl Myristate on without having to worry about side effects. All I get is soft, smooth skin. Of course this is only anecdotal evidence, but to me it is more than enough to stay away from it and recommend to everyone with combination, oily and acne-prone skin to do the same. Yet, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different. Isopropyl Myristate doesn’t work for me, but it may work for you. And if that’s the case, there’s no reason to avoid it.
The Bottom Line
Although there isn’t yet any scientific proof that Isopropyl Myristate is comedogenic, not everyone can tolerate it. Those with combination, oily and acne-prone skin, in particular, should use it with caution.
Does Isopropyl Myristate break you out?