isopropyl myristate is comedogenic

Is Isopropyl Myristate comedogenic? I know, I know, what the heck is that? A common ingredient in your skincare products that usually gets ignored because it sounds like a chemical (it IS a chemical) when everyone’s into natural actives. And, depending on your skin type, it can do more harm than good…

You know me. I usually turn to science to figure out if an ingredient is good or bad. But sometimes, science can’t give you the answer. If no one has done a study on it, science stays mute. It doesn’t have an opinion. It only deals with facts.

That’s why it’s so hard to figure out if Isopropyl Myristate is comedogenic. Some people swear it turns their face into a war zone. Others think it’s been unfairly maligned. For once, I’m siding with the accusers. Science may not prove Isopropyl Myristate gives you pimples, but that’s what happens to my skin every time I use it.

In the absence of any scientific evidence (I know, how Un-Beautiful With Brains of me!), I’ll let my skin do all the talking. Here’s everything you need to know about Isopropyl Myristate for skin:

What Is Isopropyl Myristate?

Isopropyl Myristate is made up of isopropyl alcohol (a propane derivative) and the naturally occurring fatty acid, myristic acid. If you want to be more specific, it’s an ester of the fatty acid Myristic Acid. For the science nerds among you, an ester is a substance formed from the reaction between an acid and an alcohol via the elimination of water.

Isopropyl Myristate is never the active ingredient that fights wrinkles or acne. But it has emollient and thickening properties that make it an essential ingredient in many skincare formulations.

Isopropyl Myristate Benefits For Skin

Quite the multi-tasker, Isopropyl Myristate has several benefits for skin (and skincare products):

  • Emollient: It lubricates skin and makes it softer and smoother. It benefits mostly dry skin. Oilier skin tones may find it a little too oily.
  • Improves texture: It reduces the greasy feel of oily ingredients in your skincare products, so the texture feels “silky rather than greasy,” says board-certified dermatologist Sapna Palep.
  • Penetration enhancer: It helps active ingredients better penetrate skin, so you get faster results. It’s not clear how it does this, although some experts believe it changes the structure of the stratum corneum (the skin’s most external layer).
  • Thickener: It makes your skincare formula thicker. If you’re not a fan of runny lotions, you’ll appreciate this feature.

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that reduces shine and prevents breakouts? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Oily Skin” cheat sheet. It features product recommendations + right order application:

Side Effects: Is Isopropyl Myristate Comedogenic?

Truth be told, scientists did some tests to see if Isopropyl Myristate is comedogenic. On rabbit’s ears. Some of these tests said it causes pimples. Other tests said the exact opposite. Who’s right? It doesn’t matter. We’re humans, not rabbits. The results don’t apply to us either way. Not to mention, rabbit’s ears are extremely prone to acne anyway. That definitely skews the results…

What about tests done on humans? There aren’t any. There are only women who use skincare products with Isopropyl Myristate. They had the same results as the studies. Some women say it gives them pimples. Others can use it fine.

In the end, I think it depends on your skin. I have combination skin and whenever I slather on a cream with Isopropyl Myristate all over my face, I get pimples on my oiliest areas.  At first, I thought it was something else causing the problem, but nope.

Whenever I use a cream loaded with Isopropyl Myryitate, my skin breaks out. When I use a cream without it, no zits. I use it again, breakouts galore. I stop, no zits. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

By the way, my body tells a different story. The skin there is very dry so Isopropyl Myristate doesn’t bother it. I get no zits when I use it there.

This is only my personal opinion so don’t take it as the Gospel. But if you have combination, oily or acne-prone skin, I do recommend you stay away from skincare products that have a high concentration of Isopropyl Myristate.

PS: Isopropyl Palmitate (and any ingredient with Myristate or Palmitate in the name) has the same effect on me. Just saying.

How To Use It

Isopropyl Myristate is found in many different types of products, from face creams to serums to body butters. Follow the instructions on each products to make sure you’re use it correctly.

Who Should Use It?

Isopropyl myristate is best suitable for normal to dry skin. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, stay away!

How Often Can You Use It?

You can use it up twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Just keep an eye out for pimples. The more often you use it, the higher the chance it’ll clog your pores.

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Isopropyl Myristate?

If you have dry skin and are wondering what are the best skincare products with Isopropyl Myristate, I’ve got you covered. Here they are:

  • Bio-Oil Skincare Oil ($14.99): A rich oil that makes skin softer and smoother. It also reduces the appearance, but not the depth, of stretch marks. Available at Boots and Ulta.
  • Mario Badescu Hydro Moisturizer With Vitamin C ($18.00): A rich moisturiser for dry skin enriched with a sprinkle of Vitamins C and E. It’s not greasy and absorbs quickly. Available at Blue Mercury, Mario Badescu, and Ulta.
  • Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin ($19.50): A moisturising cleanser for sensitive skin that dissolves even the most stubborn of makeup. Available at Boots, Sephora, and Ulta.

The Bottom Line

Science hasn’t proven yet that Isopropyl Myristate is comedogenic but many of us get pimples whenever we use it. If you have combo, oily or acne-prone skin, my recommendation is to stay away. With so many products on the market, why use something that could be problematic?