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Myristic Acid: Fatty Acid with a Myriad of Benefits

Myristic acid is one of the fatty acids found in living organism, from bacteria, plants, to animals. These fatty acids can be found in animal and vegetable fats, especially butterfat, coconut oil, palm oil, and nutmeg oil. Most of the seed oils from Myristaceae family contain up to 80% myristic acid [2].

Structurally, myristic acid has a long chain with an aliphatic tail and contains 14 carbon atoms. Thus, this fatty acid, which is in the form of white or faintly yellow crystal / powder at room temperature, has hydrophobic properties [1]. Therefore, generally myristic acid is used in the industry as:

  1. Emulsifier

  2. Waterproofing agents

  3. Curing agents

  4. PVC heat stabilizers

  5. Plasticizers

  6. Spices

  7. Pharmaceutical products

Many people may have used products with myristic acid without knowing as it is a common ingredients used in many consumer goods [3,4]:

1. Cosmetics

In cosmetics, myristic acid has several roles, for instance: surfactant, lubricant, emulsifier, an opacifying agent, or a cleaning agent. When the mixture of materials produces disagreeable colors, the addition of myristic acid can make the colors opaquer and give a more uniform texture and color. In addition, myristic acid provides a better coverage in reducing the appearance of pimples and blemishes in concealer and foundation products. The lubricant properties of the myristic acid is very important because of its high rate of absorption on the skin.

2. Soaps dan detergents

Myristic acid can act as a surfactant. It can mix with water and oily dirt particles, and can be easily rinsed off. This component can also create foams for cleansing.

3. Perfume

When myristic acid is synthesized into ethyl myristate, it has a nice aroma that can be used in fragrance application.

4. Skincare and hair care

As surfactant, myristic acid can mix with water and oil to remove dirt and impurities on the skin, hair, scalp, etc. while keeping the skin hydrated.

5. Creams and lotions

Myristic acid, one of saturated fatty acids, can help increase the viscosity of creams, lotions, and moisturizers, such as: ointments, shaving creams, balm and many others.

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[2] Acid, L., 1987. Final report on the safety assessment of oleic acid, laurie acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid, and stearic acid. J. Am. Coll. Toxicol, 6, pp.321-401.


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