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Cetyl Alcohol

Cetyl Alcohol was discovered in 1817 by the French chemist Michel Chevreul when he heated spermaceti, a waxy substance obtained from sperm whale oil, with caustic potash (potassium hydroxide). Flakes of cetyl alcohol were left behind on cooling. Modern production is based around the reduction of palmitic acid which is obtained from vegetable sources.

Cetyl Alcohol is made by catalytic hydrogenation of the triglycerides obtained from vegetable oils and followed by oxidation of a chain growth product of ethylene oligomerized on a triethylaluminum catalyst.

Cetyl alcohol is used in the cosmetic industry as an opacifier in shampoos, or as an emollient, emulsifier or thickening agent in the manufacture of skin creams and lotions.

People who suffer from eczema can be sensitive to cetyl alcohol, though this may be due to impurities or other ingredients rather than cetyl alcohol itself. Medications prescribed for the treatment of eczema however, contain the same cetyl alcohol in its formulations.

Find Cetyl Alcohol in the following BVO Products.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.