Ingredient Feature: Stearic Acid

Ask most men what ingredients are in their favorite moisturizer and you might get responses ranging from “I have absolutely no idea” to “I don’t have a favorite moisturizer”. While these answers are both certainly understandable, the reality is that all men should be using moisturizers to keep their skin healthy and strong. The other part of this equation is that all moisturizers are not created equal. Those moisturizers you may have picked up in the checkout line at the grocery store or drugstore may not have all of the key ingredients needed to repair, restore, and renew cracked and damaged skin. 

Stearic acid is one such ingredient. Today, we will explore why stearic acid is so effective at keeping skin healthy and moisturized without any negative side effects of discomfort.

What is Stearic Acid and Where Does it Come From?

What is Stearic Acid and Where Does it Come From?

Stearic acid is a fatty amino acid which is found in great abundance in a number of plant and animal sources. Common sources of stearic acid include palm oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and various animal fat sources. In fact, one of the reasons why the aforementioned ingredients are so widely used in skincare applications is because they contain high levels of natural stearic acid. Stearic acid is frequently derived from these natural sources by using hydrolysis, which basically uses water to break down chemical bonds to separate compounds.

In addition to moisturizers, stearic acid is also found in household products including bars of soap and candles. The physical properties of stearic acid allow for it to be used as a softener, thickener, and stabilizer in emulsified skincare products. To put it mildly, stearic acid is a natural ingredient with a wide range of uses — hence why it is found it so many products you probably already own.

Stearic Acid Skincare Applications

Stearic Acid Skincare Applications

Now that we understand where stearic acid comes from, let’s take a look at how it is used in common skincare applications. There are several properties of stearic acid which makes it ideal for a wide range of skincare applications.

Stearic acid acts as a surfactant. Surfactants are ingredients which are used in skincare and other personal products that lower the surface tension of liquids. In most cases, surfactants are used in cleansers from face wash products to regular bars of soap to allow for dirt and debris to be washed away. This is why stearic acid is so frequently found in cleansing products.

Stearic acid is a thickener. Due to its strong chemical makeup and properties as an amino acid allow it to harden and thicken skincare products such as soap bars. For moisturizers, stearic acid helps give the product a thick, rich texture. This is one of the properties which allows stearic acid to be an effective occlusive (more on this below).

Stearic acid acts as an emulsifying agent. Last but not least, stearic acid can be used to emulsify water and oil-based ingredients. This application leads to the amino acid being used in small amounts in a wide range of cosmetic and other skincare products for longer shelf life and greater product stability.

Stearic Acid: an Occlusive for Skin Moisturization

Stearic Acid: an Occlusive for Skin Moisturization

When it comes to skin moisturization, stearic acid’s primary role is that of an occlusive. Amongst other occlusives including squalene, petrolatum, cyclomethicone, and cholesterol (just to name a few), stearic acid offers a rare combination of safety and effectiveness as a powerful occlusive. Occlusives, emollients, and humectants are the backbone of any effective skin moisturizing product. 

Occlusives are the ingredients which are responsible for forming a water-tight, protective barrier on the outside of your skin. These types of ingredients are often heavier in consistency, and may be waxy or oily to the touch. This is due to the fact that occlusives are predominantly hydrophobic. Hydrophobic materials repel water, essentially creating a waterproof barrier on the outside of your skin.

Unlike other active ingredients found in moisturizers like emollients and humectants, occlusives do not directly heal your skin. Despite this fact, potent moisturizers would be rendered useless without occlusives to provide a layer of protection on the outside layer of your skin. Without occlusives like stearic acid, your skin would remain exposed to the elements and likely dry out as quickly as ever.

HEFF Moisturizer for Men with Stearic Acid and Other Potent Amino Acids

HEFF daily moisturizing cream for men harnesses the power of 8 essential amino acids and 18 total amino acids including stearic acid to deliver unparalleled relief for dry, cracked skin. Our product was scientifically formulated by a team of doctors, chemists, and researchers with a singular goal in mind: create a product that can repair, restore, and renew very dry and/or damaged skin. The final result is a daily use moisturizing cream for hands, elbows, and feet. HEFF utilizes all three of the moisturizing pillars to offer deep relief for even the most cracked, chapped, and beat up skin.
Every purchase of HEFF supports military and first responder personnel through Operation Gratitude. We are proud to donate a tube of HEFF for every tube purchased. To give HEFF a try today, find us at any one of the following national retailers, shop on Amazon, or feel free to contact us directly.