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potassium oleate is a natural constituent of vegetable oils such as sunflower oil. It is an emulsifier that creates a foamy effect when used in a formulation and improves skin penetration of other ingredients. It is also known as 9-Octadecenoate or Omega-9 fatty acid and is a monounsaturated fatty acid that can be derived from a variety of animal and plant fats and oils.
It has been shown to be a superior emulsifier for cosmetic formulations and can be found in liquid soaps, face and body cleansers, mustache waxes and other personal care products. It is also an excellent ingredient for hair products such as shampoos and conditioners because it helps to maintain a stable formula by stopping ingredients from separating. It has bactericidal properties against Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria and removes significantly greater amounts of biofilm material from the skin compared to SLES and SLS, while maintaining fibroblast viability.
This ingredient is also found in some foods, such as olive oil, which contains 5 to 85 percent of this fatty acid. Studies have indicated that consuming olive oil can help to lower levels of harmful low-density lipoproteins in the blood and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It can be produced from various raw materials such as tallow, lard and palm oil. It is a co-product of the production of stearic acid. Crude potassium oleate is then separated by dehydration, distillation and freezing to obtain the finished product.