Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: July 10, 2023
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of personal care products can often feel like traversing a veritable maze. With an overwhelming array of options spanning skincare and haircare, deciphering the riddle of ingredients listed on your favorite moisturizer or shampoo can be akin to cracking a secret code. Unless one holds a degree in cosmetic chemistry, understanding what these scientific terminologies mean and how they impact your skin can be a daunting task.

Caught in this myriad of compounds is one particular ingredient that seems to pop up quite often: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. At first glance, its name alone could make the uninitiated blink twice or even thrice. It sounds like something straight out of a high school chemistry textbook, doesn’t it?

Yet, this particular component, despite its intricate name, holds a significant place in the universe of cosmetic products. This article aims to unravel the mystery surrounding Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. We’ll delve into its nature, the benefits it offers to your skin, its uses in cosmetics, and any known side effects.

What is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride?

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is a mixed triester derived from glycerin and the medium-chain fatty acids of caprylic and capric acids. These acids are often sourced from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, resulting in a clear, odorless, and light-textured oil.

In a cosmetic context, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride serves several purposes. It primarily acts as a skin conditioning agent by providing occlusive layers to the skin, trapping moisture, and making the skin feel softer and smoother. This occlusive property also assists in maintaining the skin’s natural moisture balance. Furthermore, it performs the role of a solubilizer or dissolving agent, enabling the integration of fat-soluble vitamins and plant extracts in cosmetic products. Finally, it imparts a light, silky-smooth touch, enhancing the overall sensory perception of the product.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is often found as an ingredient in a plethora of cosmetic products, including creams, lotions, and makeup. It’s rarely used as a stand-alone ingredient and is typically incorporated into broader formulations as it improves the stability, spreadability, and absorption rate of the cosmetic product.

Who Can Use Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride?

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is widely considered suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin, due to its gentle nature and high compatibility with the skin’s natural oils.

As it’s derived from coconut or palm kernel oil, it’s an excellent option for those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

The ingredient is also considered safe for use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, as with any ingredient, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist before incorporating new products into your routine, especially during these significant life stages.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Skin Benefits

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride has one primary function when it comes to skin:

  • Moisturizing Effect: As a skin conditioning agent, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride helps maintain the skin’s optimal hydration levels. It achieves this by providing an occlusive layer on the skin’s surface, minimizing the loss of moisture and helping to keep the skin soft, supple, and well-hydrated. It’s the triglyceride’s long-chain fatty acid structure that’s responsible for this occlusion, acting as a barrier and preventing moisture from evaporating from the skin’s surface.

It’s important to remember that the moisturizing effects aren’t permanent. To keep reaping these benefits, consistent and ongoing usage of products containing Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is necessary.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride’s Non-active Cosmetic Uses

In addition to the active skincare benefit Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride provides, it also possesses non-active cosmetic uses that contribute to the overall aesthetics and functionality of skincare products. Here are some of the main non-active uses:

  • Solvent: As a solvent, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride dissolves other ingredients in a formulation which may not be easily soluble by themselves. This property is crucial to ensuring a homogenous, consistent blend of ingredients in your skincare product. This way, you can enjoy a uniform application with every use.
  • Fragrance Carrier: The oil’s light and neutral fragrance make it an excellent carrier for fragrances and perfuming agents in skincare products. It effectively carries the scent without interfering with or altering the fragrance, enhancing the sensory experience of using a perfumed product.

Even though these functions are not directly linked to skin benefits, they are crucial to the overall performance and feel of a product. These properties of Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride significantly contribute to the delightful user experience that accompanies premium skincare and cosmetic products.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Potential Side Effects

Everyone’s skin is unique, and consequently, reactions to specific ingredients can vary significantly from person to person. The difference lies in our skin types, genetic makeup, and personal sensitivities. The myriad of responses is precisely why understanding and knowing how to find your skin type is crucial before incorporating new ingredients or products into your skincare regimen.

Let’s now consider some potential side effects and interactions that could occur with the use of Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, understanding that these are not universal but isolated possibilities:

  • Skin Irritation: Although rare, some individuals may experience skin irritation or mild discomfort due to personal sensitivities or allergies.
  • Acne Breakouts: While Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is generally non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores), in some rare instances, it could potentially trigger breakouts in individuals with highly acne-prone skin.

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s advisable to immediately discontinue use of the product. Should symptoms persist, reach out to a healthcare professional or dermatologist to understand the cause and determine the right course of action.

That being said, side effects with Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride use are rare. The ingredient is generally recognized as safe and effective, widely accepted for its skin benefits and its capacity to enhance the overall performance and feel of cosmetic products.

Comedogenic Rating

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride holds a low comedogenic rating of 1 to 2 on a scale of 0 to 5. This rating implies that it is unlikely to clog pores, which contributes to its broad suitability across various skin types. The rating stems from its chemical structure, a mix of caprylic and capric fatty acids that are medium-chain, making it less likely to contribute to the formation of acne.

Though it is not entirely non-comedogenic, the likelihood of it causing breakouts is low. Therefore, it is generally suitable for those prone to acne or breakouts. However, individuals with highly acne-sensitive skin should use products containing this ingredient cautiously or consult a dermatologist for personalized advice.


Embarking on the journey to find success in skincare equates to stepping into a realm of experimentation and trial-and-error. It involves a close study of ingredients, their benefits, and how they align with your skin’s unique needs and characteristics.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is one such ingredient that serves a dual purpose in skincare and cosmetic products. It offers active effects that immediately benefit the skin, like acting as an effective skin-conditioning agent and enhancing product absorption. Simultaneously, it lends non-active effects to the overall product formulation, improving texture, stability, and fragrance carry.

These myriad benefits make Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride a desirable ingredient to look for in skincare products. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking to enhance skin moisturization, texture, and overall user experience.

Far from being an unusual or avant-garde ingredient, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is a familiar face in many skincare and cosmetic products, owing to its versatile and beneficial properties. It’s not uncommon to find this ingredient listed on the labels of your favorite creams, lotions, and serums.

However, like all good things in skincare, the journey to reap Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride’s benefits is not an overnight expedition. It takes consistent use over several weeks to start witnessing its positive effects on your skin visibly.

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