Feb 202014
What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are important components of lipids (fat-soluble components of living cells) in plants, animals, and microorganisms. Fatty acids used to be designated as vitamin F, however later research showed they are better classified as fats rather than vitamins. There are saturated fatty acids (caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid) and unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid, linolenic acid/alpha-Linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitoleic acid). Both saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids are found in many carrier oils/vegetable oils and body butters.

How are fatty acids obtained?

Fatty acids are usually derived from triglycerides (esters, derived from glycerol and three fatty acid) or phospholipids (a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes).

Saturated fatty acids properties
  • Caprylic acid (Emollient. Emulsifier. Anti-bacterial, antimicrobial. Anti-fungal. Emollient. Thickening agent. Found in: coconut oil and palm kernel oil).
  • Capric acid (Emollient. Emulsifier. Found in: coconut oil 10% and palm kernel oil 4%).
  • Lauric acid (Antimicrobial. Found in: coconut oil).
  • Myristic acid (Surfactant. Cleansing agent. Found in: coconut oil, palm kernel oil, sea buckthorn oil).
  • Palmitic acid (Emollient. Emulsifier. Found in: palm kernel oil, almond oil 6%, apricot kernel oil 5%, argan oil 12%, avocado oil 14%, borage seed oil 5%, calendula oil 4%, evening primrose oil 6%, grapeseed oil 7%, hazelnut oil 5%, hemp oil 6%, jojoba oil 6%, neem oil 12%, peach kernel oil 5-8%, rosehip oil 3%, sea buckthorn oil 30%, sesame oil, soya oil 9%, St Johns Wort oil 6%, sunflower oil 4%, wheatgerm oil 12%).
  • Stearic acid (Emollient. Emulsifier. Surfactant. Softening agent. Found in: almond oil, apricot kernel oil, argan oil 6%, borage seed oil, calendula oil 2%, grapeseed oil 4%, hazelnut oil 2%, hemp oil 2%, jojoba oil 2%, neem oil 21%, sesame oil, soya oil 3%, St Johns Wort oil, sunflower oil 2%, cocoa butter and shea butter).
Unsaturated fatty acids properties
  • Linoleic acid (Antioxidant. Emollient. Anti-irritating properties. Found in: almond oil 26%, apricot kernel oil 28%, argan oil 36%, avocado oil 11%, borage seed oil 14%, buriti oil, calendula oil 16%, evening primrose oil 75%, flax seed oil 16%, grapeseed oil 72%, hazelnut oil 10%, macadamia oil, neem oil 2%, olive oil, peach kernel oil 15-35%, rosehip oil 44%, safflower oil 78%, sea buckthorn oil 6%, soya oil 53%, St Johns Wort oil 26%, sunflower oil 16%, wheatgerm oil 52%).
  • Linolenic acid/alpha-Linolenic acid (Skin-conditioning agent. Anti-inflammatory. Found in: almond oil, apricot kernel oil, argan oil, avocado oil, borage seed oil, camellia seed oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil 53%, grapeseed oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, rosehip oil 33%, safflower oil, sea buckthorn oil 2%, sesame oil, soya oil 7%, sunflower oil, wheatgerm oil).
  • Oleic acid (Emollient. Emulsifier. Surfectant. Found in: olive oil, almond oil 64%, apricot kernel oil 64%, argan oil 42%, avocado oil 65%, borage seed oil 64%, calendula oil 74%, camellia seed oil 85%, coconut oil 85%, evening primrose oil 7%, flax seed oil 21%, grapeseed oil 16%, hazelnut oil 82%, macadamia oil 60%, meadowfoam oil 3%, neem oil 52%, olive oil 60%, peach kernel oil 55-75%, rosehip oil 16%, safflower oil 13%, sea buckthorn oil 20%, sesame oil, soya oil 23%, St Johns Wort oil 65%, sunflower oil 74%, wheatgerm oil 30%).
  • Palmitoleic acid (Anti-inflammatory. Found in: grapeseed oil, macadamia oil 19%, olive oil 19%, and sea buckthorn oil 34%, sesame oil).

For more on cosmetic ingredients, please read our extensive ingredients list.


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