What’s Sodium Palmitate?

Sodium palmitate is a skin care and cosmetic ingredient that is used to saponify oils and fats to make soaps. Sodium palmitate is derived from Palm oil However, it can also be made synthetically, which will reduce the environmental impact of the ingredient.

Sodium palmitate is used to saponify oils and fats and to make soap. Saponification occurs when fatty acids are reacted with an alkaline component such as lye. This allows the oils and fats to foam and bubble without leaving oily residues on the skin. Palm oil is often used as fat or oil in this process and, when reacted with lye, creates glycerin and sodium palmitate as by-products.

the breakdown

Sodium palmitate

the good: Sodium palmitate is an ingredient that is made as part of soap making. It acts as a surfactant and cleaning ingredient, helping to remove oils and grime from the skin so that it can be washed off.

not that good: Since sodium palmitate is derived from palm oil, some environmental impacts need to be considered.

For whom is that? All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.

Keep an eye on: There is nothing to observe here.

Why is sodium palmitate used?

Sodium palmitate is mainly used as a surfactant. Surfactants help break down Surface tension between two liquids for deeper cleaning. For this reason, sodium palmitate is often found in soaps and some other cleaning products.

Sodium palmitate also helps emulsify other ingredients. When you mix oil and water based ingredients together, they tend to separate and split. Emulsifiers help mix the two types of ingredients together, preventing them from splitting. This gives you a stable product that will last a long time.

Is sodium palmitate harmful to the environment?

As you probably already know, palm oil has a significant impact on the environment. Palm oil The harvest contributes to deforestation, threatens biodiversity and wildlife such as orangutans, and perpetuates poverty in areas where locals have lost their land rights. Given that sodium palmitate is derived from palm oil, chances are that this ingredient may contribute to this effect. However, there are groups that work with local communities to develop sustainable harvesting practices. Make sure you check that your product’s palm oil source is sustainably harvested.

Is Sodium Palmitate Safe?

The security of Sodium palmitate was verified by the Expert panel for the review of cosmetic ingredients, a group responsible for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of skin care and cosmetic ingredients.

The panel of experts noted that sodium palmitate in its current uses and concentrations is considered safe when formulated as non-irritating. Depending on the concentration and the other ingredients in the formulation, it can dry out on some skin types.

Khosrowpour, Z. et al. 2018. “Effects of Four Soaps on Transepidermal Water Loss and Skin Erythema Index,” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

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