A 12 carbon length fatty acid that can be found naturally in coconut milk, coconut oil, laurel oil, and palm kernel oil. It's also in breast milk. As a skincare ingredient, it can be used as an emulsifier or as a cleansing agent.
What's more, there is emerging research about lauric acid being a good anti-acne ingredient. A 2009 study found that the lowest concentration to prevent evil acne-causing P. acnes growth of lauric acid is over 15 times lower than that of gold standard anti-acne ingredient benzoyl peroxide.
Though the studies are only in-vitro (made in the lab, not on real people), and it also has a high comedogenicity index, it might be worth a try if you are prone to inflamed acne (the type that's caused by P. acnes bacteria).
- The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2009), Antimicrobial Property of Lauric Acid Against Propionibacterium acnes: Its Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris
- Biomaterials. 2009 Oct; 30(30): 6035–6040., The Antimicrobial Activity of Liposomal Lauric Acids Against Propionibacterium acnes