Calcium Stearate: Advantages & Disadvantages

Calcium stearate( C36H70CaO4) is a non-toxic, white powdery substance. It is a calcium salt derived from calcium oxide and stearic acid that is commonly found in cosmetics, plastics and food products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has generally recognized it as safe when used as a food additive.

Calcium stearate was first used in 1924 to improve the texture of bread dough and reduce dust levels in flour. Its unique properties made it useful in many other non-food industries. The substance reduces friction when added to substances, increasing flow rate and preventing caking. It may also be used in gels or to add bulk to cosmetic powders. In addition to its insolubility in water, it is also insoluble in acetone, ether, and cold alcohol.

One of the greatest advantages of calcium stearate is that it can be used in a variety of products to accomplish a number of different goals. In cosmetics, food and other products, it is used to prevent caking, improve texture and thicken materials. This substance is also used as a flow agent, which means that it reduces friction and facilitates the flow of other substances. The pharmaceutical industry uses this substance in many different medications, and the industrial industry uses it for its ability to waterproof various materials.

When certain types of fatty acids are heated with an alkaline substance, the resulting salt is known as soap. Stearic acid is one of the most widely used components of soaps. Calcium stearate is a synthetic ingredient formed through a reaction when stearic acid and calcium oxide are heated together. It is the most important type of calcium salt. Yet due to its lack of solubility, the salt is not commonly used in soap in modern times, having been replaced by synthetic substances that are water soluble.

Calcium stearate(CAS No. 1592-23-0) is frequently found in cosmetics, especially aerosol hair styling products. The substance is also found in cosmetic powders, ointments, and packaging. Despite a very low risk for dermal irritation, topical contact may cause redness, itching, and eye irritation.

While calcium stearate is sometimes used in surfactants, there are some disadvantages of using it in soaps and other cleansers. When combined with water, this substance does not form a creamy lather. Instead, it creates a slimy substance known as soap scum. Soap scum will not only accumulate on tubs and showers, but it can also leave an unwanted film on the skin and hair. For these reasons, many manufacturers have begun using more effective surfactants in their products.