Zinc Palmitate: What Is It, Cosmetic Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: February 27, 2024
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of cosmetics can often feel like trying to decipher a complex scientific formula, especially when you’re confronted with a myriad of scientific names on product labels. One such ingredient that you may have come across is Zinc Palmitate. In this article, we will delve deep into the world of Zinc Palmitate, exploring its role and significance in cosmetic products.

What is Zinc Palmitate?

Zinc Palmitate, also known as Zinc Dipalmitate, is a common ingredient found in many cosmetic products. It’s a zinc salt of palmitic acid, which is a fatty acid found in palm oil.

The production of Zinc Palmitate involves a chemical reaction between zinc oxide and palmitic acid. This process results in a white, powdery substance that is easily incorporated into various cosmetic formulations.

Zinc Palmitate serves a general purpose of acting as a deodorant in cosmetic products. It works by reducing or eliminating unpleasant body odors. This is achieved through its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria, which are often the cause of these odors.

In terms of its availability, Zinc Palmitate is not typically sold as a standalone product. Instead, it’s more commonly found as part of a wider formulation of ingredients within a product’s formulation. This is because it works best in combination with other ingredients to enhance the overall effectiveness of the product.

Who Can Use Zinc Palmitate?

Zinc Palmitate is suitable for all skin types. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, you can benefit from products containing this ingredient. It’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t cause irritation, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin.

As for its suitability for vegans and vegetarians, Zinc Palmitate is a bit of a grey area. While it’s derived from palm oil, which is a plant-based ingredient, the production of palm oil is often associated with deforestation and habitat destruction. Therefore, some vegans and vegetarians might choose to avoid products containing this ingredient.

When it comes to pregnant and breastfeeding women, there’s no specific evidence to suggest that Zinc Palmitate is harmful. However, as with any new product, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your routine.

Zinc Palmitate’s Cosmetic Benefits/Uses

The benefits and uses discussed in this section are strictly related to the cosmetic applications of Zinc Palmitate. It’s important to note that this ingredient may have other applications in various industries, but those are beyond the scope of this article. The following are the cosmetic benefits of Zinc Palmitate, based solely on its official function as a deodorant:

  • Odor Neutralization: Zinc Palmitate is a powerful deodorant agent. It works by neutralizing the odor-causing bacteria on the skin. When applied, it interacts with the sweat on the skin’s surface, which is the primary food source for these bacteria. By doing so, it starves the bacteria, effectively reducing their population and, consequently, the odor they produce. This makes Zinc Palmitate an essential ingredient in many deodorants and antiperspirants.
  • Long-lasting Effect: Unlike some deodorant ingredients that only mask the odor, Zinc Palmitate eliminates the source of the odor, providing a long-lasting effect. It does not simply cover up the smell with fragrance; instead, it tackles the problem at its root. This makes deodorants with Zinc Palmitate a preferred choice for those seeking long-lasting freshness.
  • Non-staining: Another significant benefit of Zinc Palmitate is that it does not leave stains on clothes. Some deodorants can leave white marks or yellow stains on clothing, but products containing Zinc Palmitate are less likely to do so. This is because Zinc Palmitate does not react with sweat and oils in the same way that some other deodorant ingredients do, reducing the risk of staining.

Potential Side Effects/Adverse Reactions

The side effects and reactions to the topical application of Zinc Palmitate can vary greatly from person to person. It’s important to remember that while some people may experience no side effects at all, others may have a different experience.

Potential side effects of Zinc Palmitate may include:

  • Skin irritation or redness
  • Dryness or flaking of the skin
  • A burning or stinging sensation
  • Allergic reactions such as hives, itching, or rash

If you experience any of these side effects while using Zinc Palmitate or a product containing it, it’s important to stop using the product immediately and consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on how to manage these side effects and whether it’s safe for you to continue using the product.

Adverse reactions to Zinc Palmitate are generally rare, but they can occur. It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different, and what works well for one person may not work as well for another.

Before using any new skincare product, it’s always a good idea to perform a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of the product to a discreet area of skin, such as the inside of your wrist or behind your ear, and waiting 24 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur. This can help you avoid a potentially severe reaction to a new product. For a detailed guide on how to perform a patch test, you can refer to our patch testing guide.

Comedogenic Rating

Comedogenicity refers to the potential of a substance to cause comedones, which are skin blemishes often associated with acne. These blemishes are caused by the blockage of pores by certain substances, leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of acne. In the context of cosmetic ingredients, a comedogenic rating is used to indicate the likelihood of an ingredient to cause these blockages and subsequent skin issues.

Zinc Palmitate has a comedogenic rating of 2. This means that it has a moderate potential to clog pores and cause acne. This rating is based on the molecular structure of Zinc Palmitate, which is a combination of zinc and palmitic acid. While zinc is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, palmitic acid is a fatty acid that can potentially clog pores, hence the moderate rating.

Given this rating, Zinc Palmitate may not be the best choice for individuals who are prone to acne or breakouts. While it does not have the highest comedogenic rating, its potential to clog pores could exacerbate existing skin issues or cause new ones to develop. Therefore, it is recommended that those with acne-prone skin exercise caution when using products containing Zinc Palmitate.


Zinc Palmitate serves primarily as a deodorant in cosmetic products. It leverages the antibacterial properties of zinc to neutralize body odors, making it a common ingredient in deodorants and antiperspirants.

Despite its functionality, Zinc Palmitate is not as popular as other cosmetic ingredients. It is similar to other zinc compounds and fatty acids used in cosmetics, but its moderate comedogenic rating may deter its widespread use, particularly in products designed for acne-prone skin.

In terms of safety, Zinc Palmitate is generally considered safe to use. However, its potential to clog pores should not be overlooked. Individuals with sensitive or acne-pric skin should be cautious when using products containing this ingredient, and it may be advisable to conduct a patch test before full application. As always, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized advice.

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