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Oleic Acid

Oleic Acid

Also-called-like-this: Omega-9 fatty acid
What-it-does: emollient, emulsifying

Details

A common fatty acid that can be found in lots of plant oils. Its name, "oleic", means derived from olive oil, a plant oil rich in oleic acid, but avocado, macadamia and marula oils, just to name a few, are also oleic rich.

Its chemical structure is monounsaturated, meaning it has one double bond (cis-9) that makes it less kinky than polyunsaturated fatty acids with multiple double bonds. Less kinkiness means that oleic acid and OA-rich oils are a bit thicker and heavier than their LA-rich siblings.

Maybe this thickness is the reason that Oleic acid is considered comedogenic, and if you have acne-prone skin avoid OA-rich plant oils, and choose linoleic acid-rich versions instead.

The thickness of OA also means that OA-rich oils are considered more nourishing and moisturizing than their LA-rich counterparts, and are generally considered to be more suitable for dry, mature skin types. 

As for oleic acid in its free form (and by free we mean that it is not bound up in a triglyceride structure like it is in oils), it mostly serves as an emulsifier or emulsion stabilizer in small amounts in regular cosmetic products. It is also quite well researched and is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a penetration enhancer

Show me some proof

  • Naik, Aarti, et al. "Mechanism of oleic acid-induced skin penetration enhancement in vivo in humans." Journal of controlled release 37.3 (1995): 299-306.
  • Motoyoshi, K. "Enhanced comedo formation in rabbit ear skin by squalene and oleic acid peroxides." British Journal of Dermatology 109.2 (1983): 191-198.
  • Cardoso, C. R., et al. "Oleic acid modulation of the immune response in wound healing: a new approach for skin repair." Immunobiology 216.3 (2011): 409-415.
  • Mack Correa, Mary Catherine, et al. "Molecular interactions of plant oil components with stratum corneum lipids correlate with clinical measures of skin barrier function." Experimental dermatology 23.1 (2014): 39-44.

Products with Oleic Acid

Neutrogena Liquid Neutrogena - The Transparent Facial Cleanser Oh K SOS Foaming Cleansing Bar Beyer&Söhne Hautcreme+ Trockene Haut Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin™ Nourishing Body Polish Nature Republic Collagen Dream 70 Eye Cream Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner Sallve Antioxidante Hidratante La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo(+) Unifiant Atopalm Real Barrier Control T Cleansing Foam Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Bright & Plump Moisturizer StriVectin Oleic Rapid Recovery Milk Aquation Daily Moisturizing Lotion BIOSSANCE Squalane + Omega Repair Cream Pixi Milky Tonic Skin + Pharmacy Advanced Skin Therapy Healing Gel MooGoo Spf 40 Tinted Face & Body Cream Neulii Bio Water B9 Hydration Serum Paula's Choice Calm Soothing Toner For Normal To Dry Skin Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream Wella Professionals Invigo Nutri-Enrich Mask Eucerin Ph5 Soap-Free Bar Kat Burki Super Nutrient Elixir Avene Ultra-Light Mineral Lotion Spf 50+ (Face) First Aid Beauty Fab Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate SENTÉ Intensive Bio Complete Cream KOKUTOUSEI Premium Perfect Essence Laura mercier Repair Eye Crème Laura mercier Repair Eye Serum Lumene Valo Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil Nivea Cellular Radiance Skin Perfecting Fluid SPF15 Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer Avene Light Mineral Lotion Spf 50+ (Face & Body) (Canada) Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief Physicians Formula Killer Curves Voluptuous Curling Mascara Designer Skin Visionary Peter Thomas Roth Mega Rich Intense Anti-Ageing Cellular Cream Nivea Daily Essentials Tinted Moisturising Day Cream Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% Aha JAN MARINI C-Esta Cleansing Gel Darphin Ideal Resource Smoothing Retexturizing Radiance Cream First Aid Beauty Fab Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream With Triple Hyaluronic Acid Laura mercier Repair Crème Blanc & Eclare Serein Silk Cleansing Foam Darphin Hydraskin Rich The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Ha Atopalm Real Barrier Control-T Toner Philosophy Miracle Worker Eye Cream Sephora Hand Mask Klairs Fundamental Nourishing Eye Butter