What Is Isopropyl Myristate? The Essential Skincare Alphabet

Isopropyl Myristate is a relatively under researched and unknown ingredient in the skincare industry. However, in the next few years, this is going to change (this is a prediction, take note).

It’s a skin hydrating ingredient, that is gaining more and more momentum.

Why? My assumption is that ‘hyaluronic acid fatigue’ is setting in and even more of us will be looking for different ways to hydrate our skin.

That’s not to say isopropyl myristate is not already in your skincare, it’s already a much used skincare ingredient.

However, a shift in skincare marketing may indicate that glycerin and HA are no longer cutting it. IM, could be the next acronym on everybody’s lips.

Stay ahead of the curve and find out what it does now.

What type of ingredient is isopropyl myristate?

It’s an emollient, which are moisturising treatments applied directly to the skin to soothe and hydrate it (1).

They are able to do this by trapping the moisture into the skin with a protective film.

In skincare, emollients come in many forms including; lotions, creams, sprays and ointments. They’re incredibly useful for skin conditions that result in extremely dry skin like eczema and psoriasis.

What are its benefits?

Its benefits are the same as anything that hydrates the skin.

The skin will stay soft and supple. It prevents dry patches and can help soothe inflammation. The skin’s skin barrier can be strengthen with its use.

Importantly, hydrated skin is an important part of the anti-aging process.

Skin hydration is categorised as the skin’s ability to retain and diffuse water. This is reduced by a considerable amount when we age (2). Water binds to protein and is essential in supporting proper enzymatic reactions, a loss of hydration leads to altered structural and mechanical properties of the skin (2).

Hence, proper hydration in your cosmetics care is imperative. This is just one of those ingredients that can help support your skin’s barrier as water is lost.

One last advantage of this ingredient, is that it helps skin penetrability. This means all your other products will work better too!

What are its side effects?

Side effects here are very minimal, if at all. This is because it is very unlikely to cause irritation. As a general rule, hydrating products are very safe to use.

One thing to be careful of, is skin penetrability. It helps other products sink deeper into the skin. If you feel any irritation whilst using this, it may be due to this.

A look at the skin’s barrier

Can I use it everyday?

Yes you can! We lose water from our skin very regularly. Hence, replacing it won’t be such a huge issue.

It’s unlikely to do any damage to your skin barrier but if you’re unsure how to use yours, follow the product guidelines.

Product recommendations

Peter Thomas Roth Neuroliquid VoluFill Youth Serum 

  • alcohol-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • EU-allergen-free
  • reef-safe
  • fungal-acne safe

Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Intensive Cream 

  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • reef-safe

Skinceuticals Hydra Balm

  • alcohol-free
  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • reef-safe

(1) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/emollients/

(2) Dupont, E., Gomez, J., Léveillé, C., & Bilodeau, D. (2010). From hydration to cell turnover: an integral approach to antiaging. Cosmetics & Toiletries125(8), 50.

Photos courtesy of brands

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