Cetyl alcohol

Cetyl alcohol

Cetyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol with the chemical formula CH3(CH2)15OH. It is a waxy substance that is used in a variety of industries, including cosmetics, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. Cetyl alcohol is commonly derived from vegetable oils such as coconut or palm oil, and is often used as an emulsifier, thickener, or lubricant in formulations such as lotions, creams, and ointments. It is also sometimes used as a surfactant, meaning it helps to dissolve other substances and improve their absorption.



Cetyl alcohol has several major or common uses in various industries, some of which are:

  1. Cosmetics and personal care products: Cetyl alcohol is commonly used in cosmetic and personal care products such as lotions, creams, and shampoos as an emulsifier, thickener, and lubricant. It gives products a smooth and creamy texture, helps to improve their spreadability, and prevents them from separating.
  2. Pharmaceuticals: Cetyl alcohol is also used in pharmaceutical products such as ointments and creams as an emulsifying agent and stabilizer.
  3. Food industry: Cetyl alcohol is used as a coating agent for certain types of candies to prevent them from sticking together.
  4. Industrial applications: Cetyl alcohol is used in a range of industrial applications such as lubricants, surfactants, and plasticizers.
  5. Textile industry: Cetyl alcohol is used in the textile industry as a softener and lubricant for fabrics.
  6. Candle-making: Cetyl alcohol is used in the production of candles to increase their hardness and improve their burning characteristics.
  7. Hair care products: Cetyl alcohol is commonly used in hair conditioners and styling products as an emollient and thickener, which helps to soften and smooth the hair.


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Safety Guidelines

While cetyl alcohol is generally considered safe for use, there are some precautions that should be observed when using it:
  1. Skin and eye irritation: Cetyl alcohol can cause skin and eye irritation, especially in high concentrations. If you are working with cetyl alcohol, it is important to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, to avoid contact with the skin or eyes.
  2. Sensitization: Cetyl alcohol has the potential to cause sensitization, which means that prolonged or repeated exposure to it can cause an allergic reaction. If you have a history of allergic reactions, you should be cautious when using products that contain cetyl alcohol.
  3. Inhalation: Cetyl alcohol can cause respiratory irritation if it is inhaled in high concentrations. If you are working with cetyl alcohol in a poorly ventilated area, you should wear a respirator to protect your lungs.
  4. Fire hazard: Cetyl alcohol is flammable and should be stored away from heat sources and open flames. When using cetyl alcohol, it is important to follow proper fire safety procedures.
Environmental concerns: Cetyl alcohol is biodegradable, but it can still have an impact on the environment if it is released in large quantities. It is important to dispose of cetyl alcohol properly and in accordance with local regulations.

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