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Isopropyl Myristate in Cosmetic Formulations to Vaccine Adjuvants
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Isopropyl Myristate in Cosmetic Formulations to Vaccine Adjuvants

What Is Isopropyl Myristate?

Isopropyl Myristate in Cosmetic Formulations to Vaccine Adjuvants

Isopropyl myristate (IPM), with the chemical formula C17H34O2, is an ester formed by the combination of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid. It appears as a clear, colorless liquid with a mild odor. This chemical compound is highly lipophilic, meaning it has a strong affinity for fats and oils. Due to its unique molecular structure, it exhibits excellent solvency and compatibility with various compounds, making it widely utilized in numerous industries.

The fascinating properties of IPM are mainly reflected in:

  • Low Viscosity: IPM is a low-viscosity liquid, which makes it easy to blend with other ingredients and ensures a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
  • High Solubility: This compound is highly soluble in many organic solvents, such as alcohols, hydrocarbons, and esters. It also exhibits good compatibility with a wide range of oils and waxes.

Isopropyl Myristate Used for Skin Care and Cosmetics

IPM is a common ingredient in skin care and cosmetics due to its emollient properties. The important roles of IPM in skin care and cosmetic formulations include:

  • Emollient: IPM acts as an emollient, effectively softening and soothing the skin. It forms a protective layer on the skin, reducing moisture loss and leaving it feeling smooth and hydrated.
  • Spreading Agent: With its excellent spreading properties, IPM facilitates the even distribution of products on the skin, improving their efficacy.
  • Non-comedogenic: Isopropyl myristate is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores or contribute to the formation of acne or blackheads.

Isopropyl Myristate for Drug Delivery

IPM is used as a penetration enhancer in various drug delivery systems, such as transdermal patches. I. Brinkmann et al. studied the effect of IPM in combination with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) on the penetration of hydrocortisone (HC) through the human stratum corneum (SC). The results show that the combination of IPM and IPA has a synergistic effect on the microstructure of SC and can increase the permeability of HC through SC. [1]

Recently, Jiuheng Ruan et al. evaluated the dose-response relationship of IPM penetration enhancer on drug (zolmitriptan, ZOL) release. The results show that the fluidity of pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) increases linearly with increasing IPM concentration, but the interaction between IPM and ZOL reaches its strongest at 6% IPM. [2]

IPM permeation enhancers for ZOL release.IPM permeation enhancers for ZOL release.

Isopropyl Myristate for Vaccines

IPM can also be used as an excipient, or inactive ingredient, in vaccines. Multiple microemulsion formulations based on IPM and polysorbate 80 as surfactants have been tested as potential adjuvants for rabies antigens. The results showed that the rabies antigen in the microemulsion had good antiviral efficacy without obvious local reactions.[3] Zenghui Chen et al. developed a stable and biocompatible W/O nanoemulsion as an adjuvant for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine using IPM as the oil phase, polyglyceryl polyricinoleate (PGPR) and Tween 80 as surfactants.[4]

The developed W/O/W multiple emulsion based on IPM.The developed W/O/W multiple emulsion based on IPM.[3]


  1. I. Brinkmann, et al. Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, 2003, 16 (6), 393-404.
  2. Ruan J, et al. AAPS PharmSciTech, 2023, 25(1), 1.
  3. Leclercq S Y, et al. European journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 2011, 43(5), 378-385.
  4. Chen Z, et al. Artificial cells, nanomedicine, and biotechnology, 2017, 45(5), 897-906.

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