Cetyl alcohol, also known as hexadecan-1-ol and palmityl alcohol, is a fatty alcohol with the formula CH3(CH2)15OH. At room temperature, cetyl alcohol takes the form of a waxy white solid or flakes. The name cetyl derives from the whale oil (Latin: cetus) from which it was first isolated
Cetyl alcohol is used in the cosmetic industry as an opacifier in shampoos, or as an emollient, emulsifier or thickening agent in the manufacture of skin creams and lotions. It is also employed as a lubricant for nuts and bolts, and is the active ingredient in some “liquid pool covers” (forming a surface layer to reduce evaporation and retain heat).
- Works as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener and carrying agent for other ingredients contained in a cosmetic solution. It keeps the oil and water parts of an emulsion from separating, and gives products good spreadability.
- As a thickening agent and surfactant, it helps alter the viscosity and increase the foaming capacity of non-aqueous (i.e. lotions) and aqueous solutions (i.e. shampoo).
- It is often misinterpreted as an “alcohol” related to ethyl or rubbing alcohol, both of which can be extremely drying to the skin. The truth, in fact, is quite the opposite, as cetyl alcohol is well known to effectively condition and soften the skin and hair. Because of its multi-functional capabilities, this ingredient is used in a wide range of personal care products such as moisturizer, face cream, shampoo/conditioner, anti-aging treatment, hair dye, sunscreen, cleanser and lipstick.
People who suffer from eczema can be sensitive to cetyl alcohol, though this may be due to impurities rather than cetyl alcohol itself. Ironically, this ingredient is sometimes included in medications for the treatment of eczema.
Unknown, please consult with your doctor.
Source: TruthinAging, https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/cetyl-alcohol