Stearic acid (SA), sometimes also called octadecanoic acid, is a saturated long-chain fatty acid. It’s present in humans, animals and some plants.
It has properties that make it a natural cleansing agent, capable of helping remove excess sebum (oil), dirt and bacteria from skin, hair and other surfaces. It’s also an emulsifier, emollient and lubricant.
Is stearic acid a natural ingredient?
Yes, which is why it’s found in many natural skin care/beauty products in place of chemical ingredients.
SA is found naturally in animal fat, especially pork fat, and also certain plants that contain fat/oil. These sources are heated and pressurized in order to isolate and remove stearic acid.
It then goes a process that involves distillation, steaming and cooling in order to create a finished product of concentrated SA, which is usually a waxy substance.
Additionally, it is found in some supplements, including magnesium stearate, which is a combination of stearic acid and the mineral magnesium.
Although the consumption of commercially hydrogenated fats is not recommended, since these are found in packaged foods that are linked to various health problems, SA is also used to create these fats.
You’ll find stearic acid listed on product labels under several different names, some which include:
- Octadecanoic acid
- Century 1240
- Cetylacetic acid
- Emersol 120 or 132 or 150
- Formula 300
- Glycon DP