How safe is it?

What is it?
Cetyl alcohol is a surface active agent and emulsifier, that promotes the formation and stabilization of oil and water emulsions.  Creams, ointments, and soaps are examples of emulsions.

How can I avoid it?
Avoid contact with this substance. Avoidance of Stearyl Alcohol in cosmetics and topical medications requires reading labels, the package inserts and, on occasion, direct communication with the manufacturer. Here is a partial list of products know to have contained Stearyl Alcohol in the past. To be sure, you should check the contents of the package.Skin contact with Stearyl Alcohol is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing Stearyl Alcohol  should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the US for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this ingredient. If there is no information ask your pharmacist or call the company directly. At work, request a material safety data sheet (MSDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.

Uses:
  • Skin Care Products / Cosmetics
  • Antiperspirants / Deodorants 
  • Hair sprays, gels, tonics and lotions
  • Moisturizers
  • Make-ups
  • Soaps / Cleansers
  • Shampoos / Conditioners
  • Sunscreens and Self-Tanners
  • Defoamers
  • Detergent / Surfactant
  • Fragrances
  • Liquid solar blanket in swimming pools
  • Lubricants
  • Solubilizers
  • Textile oils and finishes
  • Wetting agents

Other names/cross reactors for stearyl alcohol:
  • Cetostearyl alcohol (Lanette O, a combination of Cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol) 
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Octadecyl alcohol
  • Stenol
  • 1-Octadecanol

Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
  • Cetyl alcohol
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