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Cetyl Alcohol

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 26, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Cetyl alcohol (C16H34O), also known as 1-hexadecanol or palmityl alcohol, functions as an emulsion stabilizer, opacifier, emollient and surfactant in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. It is a fatty alcohol, and at room temperature exists as a waxy or flaky white solid. Cetyl alcohol has been reported to lead to cases of contact dermatitis.[1]

List of medications using Cetyl Alcohol


  1. [1]Komamura, H, et al. A case of contact dermatitis due to impurities of cetyl alcohol. Contact dermatitis 1997; 36: 44–6.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.