I know what you are thinking, Isopropyl Myristate sounds like a chemistry class nightmare, and the lesser you need to about it the better. We agree, but when you are trying to make good decisions about skincare, chemistry is something we just gotta deal with.
Simply put isopropyl myristate is an emollient. See it is less scary now isn’t it but I have some unsettling news. Isopropyl myristate is a combination of the two things that the influencer skincare world has taught us to fear.
Alcohol and oils!
Of course, I won’t recommend anyone to apply either of these two items on their skin ever however product formulation is a delicate process and if you keep reading you’ll see why isopropyl myristate is not a big bad supervillain that we need to fear.
How to pronounce Isopropyl Myristate?
I know each word has 9 letters but it is easy. It is pretty much exactly as it looks.
What is Isopropyl Myristate?
Isopropyl myristate is a combination of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid. It is an ester that combines alcohol and fatty acids. We have often heard about how alcohol is a good solvent for many skincare ingredients. While many of us have tried to shun alcohol from our skincare routines it is rather difficult to avoid the ingredient.
Combining alcohol with oil creates a lightweight moisturizer that works in many products for moisturizing purposes. Since it is a smooth, thin liquid it makes a good substitute for a carrier oil although the smooth quick absorbent feeling might be something you only get with isopropyl myristate.
What does Isopropyl Myristate do?
Isopropyl myristate helps maintain the skin barrier while facilitating the penetration of other ingredients. This is the benefit of mixing alcohol and oil, in a way the oil is diluted and allowed to permeated the surface of your skin.
It is a catch-all ingredient that keeps the skin moisturized and helps whatever product it is into work better. Isopropyl myristate works in a way to seal the moisture into the skin and keeping the goodness of the product in the skin while enhancing the skin barrier.
Who should use Isopropyl Myristate?
Anyone that likes lightweight moisturizers will enjoy the feel of isopropyl myristate as opposed to a thicker more occlusive ingredient.
Honestly anyone with resilient, healthy, and balanced skin should have no issues using isopropyl myristate.
Favorite Products that contain Isopropyl Myristate
So many and I mean so many products contain isopropyl myristate. It is everywhere and you can find it in almost any type of product too. Here are few that we like at the Simply team.
Who should not use Isopropyl Myristate?
Isopropyl myristate has a high chance of clogging pores. So, we suggest that if you have acne prone skin or are prone to breakouts you should avoid this ingredient on your face.
A couple new research with specific control group have shown that isopropyl myristate might not be as comedogenic as we once thought it was however the scope nature of this study means that it is still a risk.
The other issue with isopropyl myristate is that it can irritate sensitive skin if paired with a potentially irritating ingredient. So, if you have rosacea or sensitive skin be careful not to use isopropyl myristate with a strong active like retinol.
The only time this will likely be an issue is if you use retinol and follow with a moisturizer that has isopropyl myristate in it. Double-check ingredients if you’re seeing any skin sensitivities.
How to add Isopropyl Myristate to your routine?
First things you need to know is that isopropyl myristate is not an active ingredient. It is not something you seek out for certain benefits. It is more of an ingredient that is present in many products.
It is very commonly found in foundations, moisturisers and body oils. So, it is not an ingredient that comes with general rules because of its varied purposes. It is a moisturizing component that is added to make products serve the skin better.
Mixing with other products
Since isopropyl myristate encourages and facilitates the penetration of other ingredients it is not recommended to be paired with strong actives like retinol or acids. Especially if your skin has the tendency to be sensitive.
While it is a great emollient and a fabulous moisturizer you don’t want it to encourage its skincare buddies to cause trouble. While we want skincare ingredients to penetrate into the skin there is a thing as too much penetration.
FAQ about Isopropyl Myristate
Isopropyl myristate is a simple ingredient with a scary name. Naturally, we all have questions about it.
Does isopropyl myristate kill germs?
I do understand why people might think that isopropyl myristate is a disinfectant. It does contain alcohol and it is often found in hand sanitizers. Rest assured it is added in hand sanitizers as a thickening and moisturizing agent to keep your skin healthy and safe.
Does isopropyl myristate clog pores?
Yes, it does. The good qualities of isopropyl myristate is also its downfall. Allowing fatty acid to penetrate pores might not be best thing for everyone.
Despite this possibility, it is a great moisturizing ingredient especially for those with normal skin types. By normal, we mean non-oily and non-sensitive.
What does isopropyl myristate do to hair?
Isopropyl myristate is often considered a product stabilizer especially in the haircare world. It is also used as a plasticizer for hair, what this means is that the isopropyl myristate in your hair styling product will soften the strands.
Final Thoughts on Isopropyl Myristate
There aren’t any skincare ingredients that will be universally perfect or suitable for everyone. With that in mind, I think we need to be more careful about formulations and how certain ingredients pair with others.
For many of us, this journey can start with a good understanding of our skin. An ingredient like isopropyl myristate is not something that will be listed on the product name it is something you need to check the ingredients list for. It is certainly a good habit to cultivate if you are looking to build the perfect skincare routine for your needs.