Stearic Acid

A saturated fatty acid found in vegetable butter and animal fats. It is an occlusive moisturizing and emollient ingredient and also helps to maintain the barrier function of the skin.
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Stearic Acid


Stearic acid is a fatty acid, meaning that it is an acid with a long, oil-soluble tail. It is specifically a saturated fatty acid, which means that its oil-soluble tail only contains single bonds. It is a waxy-looking white solid.

Stearic acid in skincare products helps to maintain the barrier function of the skin, prevents transepidermal water loss, is moisturizing (occlusive), and is an emollient. Since it is a saturated fatty acid, it is strongly occlusive, and in big quantities may not be suitable for very oily or acne-prone skin.

The best source of stearic acid is various kinds of vegetable butter, notably cocoa and shea butter, and animal fats, such as lard or tallow. Stearic acid is mostly used in the production of soap.

It is also emulsifying, meaning that it helps water to mix with oil in a skincare product. It feels very heavy and draggy and is therefore usually used together with other emulsifiers.


Yang, M., Zhou, M., Jia, Y., He, C., & Song, L. (2020). A review of fatty acids influencing skin condition. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.