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Cetyl Alcohol

    Synonyms:  Alcohol cetylicus; Avol; Cachalot; Crodacol C70; Crodacol C90; Crodacol C95; ethal; ethol; HallStar CO-1695; 1-hexadecanol; nhexadecyl alcohol; Hyfatol 16-95; Hyfatol 16-98; Kessco CA; Lanette 16; Lipocol C; Nacol 16-95; palmityl alcohol; Rita CA; Speziol C16 Pharma; Tego Alkanol 16; Vegarol 1695.

    Description:  Cetyl alcohol occurs as waxy, white flakes, granules, cubes, or castings. It has a faint characteristic odor and bland taste.

    Chemical Name: Hexadecan-1-ol

    Coating agent; emulsifying agent; stiffening agent.

    • Cetyl alcohol is widely used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical formulations such as suppositories, modified-release solid dosage forms, emulsions, lotions, creams, and ointments.

    • In suppositories cetyl alcohol is used to raise the melting point of the base, and in modified-release dosage forms it may be used to form a permeable barrier coating.

    • In lotions, creams, and ointments cetyl alcohol is used because of its emollient, water-absorptive, and emulsifying properties.

    • It enhances stability, improves texture, and increases consistency.

    • The emollient properties are due to absorption and retention of cetyl alcohol in the epidermis, where it lubricates and softens the skin while imparting a characteristic ‘velvety’ texture.

    • Cetyl alcohol is also used for its water absorption properties in water-in-oil emulsions. For example, a mixture of petrolatum and cetyl alcohol (19 : 1) will absorb 40–50% of its weight of water.

    • Cetyl alcohol acts as a weak emulsifier of the water-in-oil type, thus allowing a reduction of the quantity of other emulsifying agents used in a formulation.

    Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents. Cetyl alcohol is responsible for lowering the melting point of ibuprofen, which results in sticking tendencies during the process of film coating ibuprofen crystals.

    Cetyl alcohol is mainly used in topical formulations, although it has also been used in oral and rectal preparations. Cetyl alcohol has been associated with allergic delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions in patients with stasis dermatitis. Crosssensitization with cetostearyl alcohol, lanolin, and stearyl alcohol has also been reported.

    Observe normal precautions appropriate to the circumstances and quantity of material handled. Eye protection and gloves are recommended.

    Cetostearyl alcohol; stearyl alcohol.