Skincare FAQ

Ingredient Explained: Isododecane

Think of it as a secret weapon for dry and cracked skin.
  • Isododecane is a non-comedogenic and matte weightless liquid
  • It’s a non-irritating emollient that softens the skin
  • It’s a solvent that enhances product spreadability 
  • It locks moisture into the skin

Chances are you’ve come across isododecane in your beauty routine without even realizing it. This versatile ingredient can be found in a wide range of products, from skincare to makeup and haircare, and skin experts tout it as a great solution for dehydrated, cracked complexions. If you’re not familiar with it, now is the time to get to know isododecane, especially if you’re looking to fight your dry skin woes.

What is isododecane?

In a nutshell, isododecane is an emollient and a solvent. As an emollient, it softens the skin and relieves dryness, while as a solvent, it acts as a delivery system for pigments and silicones in makeup products. In other words, it’s a multitasking ingredient that helps keep your skin hydrated while ensuring your makeup goes smoothly and stays in place.

Technically, isododecane is a colorless lightweight liquid derived from petroleum. Since it’s not soluble in water but in silicones and fats and is highly volatile (meaning it evaporates quickly), isododecane does not get absorbed into the skin but stays on the surface to create an occlusive barrier that hinders moisture loss. It gives products spreadability and a silky smooth texture so they can easily glide on the skin and also locks moisture into the skin to provide long-lasting hydration.

Even though isododecane has not been sufficiently researched in the dermatological field, aka there’s not enough evidence to support the skincare benefits, it is still a key player in lots of cosmetic formulas. It’s what gives your skincare products a lightweight texture so they can be applied easily without being heavy or greasy. It also offers your makeup products lasting power and waterproof perks. 

Is isododecane safe?

Isododecane is a non-irritating ingredient that is gentle enough for daily use and safe for all skin types, including dry, acne-prone, and sensitive. It’s been around for ages without causing any allergic reactions or raising any red flags. Also, neither EWG nor FDA has issued warnings for the use of isododecane on the skin. Since it’s water-insoluble, it doesn’t sink into the skin but instead acts as a barrier to lock in moisture, making it a lifesaver for people with dehydrated complexions. And don’t sweat it. Isododecane is non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores), doesn’t feel greasy nor leave any sticky residue, and washes away effortlessly. 

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