Are Isoparaffins Vegan? What are Isoparaffins Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: April 2023.
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Isoparaffins have no animal-derived components and are vegan. They are petroleum-derived and produced in a lab. Isoparaffins are hydrocarbons commonly used in skincare.

Isoparaffins are pretty occuring ingredients in skin care products. Such as creams and lotions. But why are they added there? Let’s find out now.

What Are Isoparaffins? What Are Isoparaffins Made Of?

Isoparaffins are saturated branched-chain hydrocarbons. They are often found in cosmetics and skincare products. And used as active ingredients as well as solvents.

The first part of the word “iso” refers to the position of the branch. Which is located at the second carbon atom. 

Isoparaffins are petroleum-derived. And with different reactions, isoparaffins are produced by separating them from oil-based products. 

The most common isoparaffins used are C13-14 isoparaffins, isododecane, and isohexadecane. They are all colored and odorless liquids.

Why Are Isoparaffins Used In Skincare?

Isoparaffins are used in skincare mostly as solvents. But isoparaffins are also known as emollients.

Isoparaffins have been used in a variety of consumer products for decades. For example, in cosmetic products such as creams and lotions. The isoparaffins used in cosmetics are highly purified. As well as very well-tolerated, and do not cause skin irritation.

Firstly, as a solvent, isoparaffin brings other substances into the solution. It makes the product soft, smooth, spreadable, and easy to apply.

Secondly, isoparaffin is also used as an emollient. It makes the skin moisturized and soft. Isoparaffin helps protect the skin barrier and fills unprotected areas and gaps. To keep the skin healthy and protect it against external irritants. Isoparaffins are also considered to be non-comedogenic.

Isoparaffins are only used in industrial and professional processes. They are not sold to the public for general consumer use.

FAQ About Isoparaffins

What are isoparaffins?

Isoparaffins are saturated branched-chain hydrocarbons. They are often found in cosmetics and skincare products. And used as the active ingredients as well as solvents.

Are isoparaffins vegan?

Yes. Isoparaffins are vegan and petroleum-derived.


Isoparaffins are vegan ingredients in skincare mainly used as solvents and emollients. These hydrocarbons are obtained from oil products, so they are petroleum-derived.

Isoparaffins themselves are vegan-friendly. But they are often added to products with animal-derived components.

See also: Top Vegan Skincare Products

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.