sorbitan isostearate

Sorbitan Isostearate at a Glance

  • Similar to the liquid fatty acid isostearic acid
  • Works as a mild cleansing agent and emulsifier
  • Helps stabilise water-in-oil formulas
  • Not prone to breaking down when exposed to air

Sorbitan Isostearate Description

Sorbitan isostearate is a mild cleansing agent and emulsifier made by combining portions of fatty acid isostearic acid with the sugar ingredient sorbitol. It may be derived from plants, made synthetically, or animal-derived, although the latter form has fallen out of favour (Paula’s Choice Skincare uses the plant-derived form).

Amounts as low as 2% can be used to stabilise emulsions, and its safety has been established in concentrations up to 25%, although sorbitan isostearate is rarely used above 10% concentration in skin care formulas.

Sorbitan Isostearate References

International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 38, Issue 2, Supplement, September 2019, pages 60S–80S; and Volume 21, Supplement 1, April 2002, pages 93–112
Chromatographia, May 2009, pages 157–164

See isostearic acid sorbitol

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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