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Oleic Acid

Oleic Acid

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


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

Calecim Professional Multi Action Cream Garnier Movida Tönung Dunkelbraun Lida Gel De Ducha Glicerina Revlon Hair Color minimalist Cleansing Oil DMK Hydroloc DMK Revitosin DR. SEA Facial Day Cream Intensive Moisturizing Gold And Hyaluronic Acid Hudosil Cremetvål Neutrogena Liquid Neutrogena - The Transparent Facial Cleanser Neutrogena Liquid Neutrogena Pure Mild Facial Cleanser Fragrance Free Calecim Restorative Hydration Cream Fidia Farmaceutici Connettivina Plus Cream Oh K SOS Foaming Cleansing Bar Portia M Marula Skin Oil Quintal Fluido Hidratante Finalizador Antiacne Renophase Repair L Creme Clairol Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution DMK Acu Creme DMK Red Vein Matriskin Eye Perimeter 360 Serum Quintal Máscara De Argila Verde Ree Derma Hot Oil Hair And Scalp Treatment moorspa Make-Up Remover Beyer&Söhne Hautcreme+ Trockene Haut Black Opal Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation Clearly Natural Aloe Vera Glycerine Bar Soap EM Cosmetics Micro-fluff Sculpting Brow Cream Herbal Essences Repair Argan Oil Conditioner New Directions Australia Vitamin F Booster PANVEL Sérum Antioxidante Panvel Faces Skincare Pacifica Beauty Vegan Collagen Conditioning Lash Serum & Primer Pipette Baby Oil (2021) Tracta Vitamina C 10 - Sérum Antioxidante antioxidante hidratante Sallve Aleph Lift / Lengthen Mascara Aveda Mosscara™ Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin™ Nourishing Body Polish Davines Dede Conditioner Dermoskin Babycare Baby Oil Duft & Doft Baby Soapy (Signature Perfume Hand Cream) Esmi Anti-redness Minty Green Smoothie Herbatint Hair Color Lotil Cream NATURALS BY WATSONS Cica & Sunflower Soothing Cleansing Foam Proraso Shaving Cream Tube Cypress & Vetyver Sandstone Scandinavia Mascara Intense Schwarzkopf Gliss Oil Nutritive Nourish Shampoo Senka Perfect Bubble For Body Tracta Sérum Facial Tracta Vitamina C10