Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science)  on 31st Oct 2020

Is Decyl Glucoside in skincare products a friend or foe?  

Is Decyl Glucoside in skincare products is good

WWith the ever-increasing rate of pollution, our skin has the risk of being exposed to several hazardous elements every day. Thus, to protect our skin's integrity and natural glow, it has become essential to cleanse the skin regularly with proper care. But using an everyday over-the-counter cleanser or face wash also comes with the possibility of exposing the skin to harsh chemicals that can damage the skin in the long run. Does this make you wonder what can be done to get rid of the skin's dirt and impurities? The obvious answer lies in nature.

Among the numerous ingredients that nature provides us with, Decyl Glucoside is an important one.

You might have skipped to notice it, but it is present in many products we use daily. Be it body wash or baby shampoo. Decyl Glucoside is a significant ingredient in them. If you are unfamiliar with it, we are here to impart a little information about Decyl Glucoside.

This article will discuss the benefits and side effects you should expect if you are using a product containing Decyl Glucoside and look at the scientific studies done on Decyl glucoside to see what they have in hold for us. 

What is Decyl Glucoside? 

It is wise to do a little research on the ingredients of the skincare or other personal care products that you use regularly or are thinking of, including your daily regime. It gives you a fair idea of what beneficial effects you should expect and warn you about any anticipated risks. Before we proceed any further, let us see what Decyl Glucoside is and how it is sourced.

Decyl Glucoside is an organic compound (C16H32O6) that is obtained from nature. It is a mild non-ionic surfactant that has gained popularity in the cosmetic and hair care industry. Decyl Glucoside is a 100% biodegradable ingredient that is derived from plants. It is synthesized following a reaction between glucose obtained from corn starch and the fatty alcohol decanol extracted from coconuts.
Due to its absolute organic composition, decyl glucoside has become one of the most used ingredients in personal care products such as cleansers, body washes, and shampoos.

Its 'non-ionic' property signifies that it has a neutral charge and can lower water's surface and produce foam. Decyl Glucoside has been seen to be skin-friendly. Its mildness makes it suitable to be used even on sensitive skin.  

Did You Know?

Every chemical component used in consumer products is assigned a unique number known as CAS ( Chemical Abstract Service) Number for easy identification. Certified organic Decyl Glucoside is represented by the number: 54549-25-6. You can look for this number when shopping for personal care products to see if those contain Decyl Glucoside. 

How is Decyl Glucoside obtained? 

Decyl Glucoside boasts a 100% natural, plant-derived composition that is made of fatty alcohol and glucose. The fatty alcohol, also known as decyl alcohol or decanol, is generated by hydrogenolysis of the fatty acid extracted from coconuts or palm kernel oils.  

How is Decyl Glucoside obtained?

To speak in terms of chemistry, Decyl Glucoside is a type of the alkyl glucoside that forms after a reaction of the Decyl alcohol or Capric alcohol and glucose.  

How can Decyl Glucoside be beneficial?

Decyl Glucoside has been found to have numerous beneficial qualities and is used for various purposes. Its neutral property makes it compatible with other cleaning chemical agents.  

Let's find out what are the benefits of Decyl Glucoside:

1. It is used in toiletries and personal hygiene.  

Decyl Glucoside is a natural surfactant that lathers quite easily. This makes it one of the primary ingredients used as base-surfactant and co-surfactant in soaps, body and face washes, and cleansers.

The non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, and mild surfactant activity of Decyl Glucoside makes it an ideal washing solution for fruits and vegetables. 

2. Helps in removing oil and dirt 

Being a surfactant, Decyl Glucoside effectively removes grease and impurities from a surface when used along with water. This mechanism occurs as Decyl Glucoside can lower the surface tension between the two liquids.  

3. Used as an Element/Ingredient in Personal Care Products  

Decyl Glucoside is a non-ionic surfactant, i.e., categorized in the family of Alkyl Polyglucosides. It helps in hydrating the skin and helps in preventing the drying of the skin. Incorporating it in skincare products increases the skin's ability to tolerate the cosmetic formulations.  

4. Safe to be used on sensitive skin

As derived from all-natural sources, Decyl Glucoside is non-toxic and very skin-friendly. Its gentle action on the skin makes it an ideal ingredient to be used on sensitive skin. It does not result in any rashes or irritation on the skin. Decyl Glucoside is also safe to be used on baby skin for its mild properties and the absence of harmful ethylene oxide. It is used in pet products too. 

5. Used as an element/ingredient for hair care products  

Its bubbling and foaming property also makes Decyl Glucoside a primary component in shampoos. It is non-drying and is gentle on any texture of hair. Its non-ionic quality helps in maintaining the natural pH of the hair. It is also used in hair mousse to retain moisture in the hair and keeps them frizz-free. 

Is Decyl Glucoside Good for your Skin?

Decyl Glucoside is obtained from 100% natural sources and is safe for all skin types. Whether you have dry skin, normal or sensitive skin, you can enjoy the benefits of Decyl Glucoside. Being non-toxic and biodegradable, it does not cause any severe harm to the skin. Its mild soapy activity gently cleans all the dirt and impurities from the skin layer. If you have oily skin and despise the unwanted shine on your face, Decyl Glucoside can help you in effectively washing the grease off your face.

Surfactants are known for their ability to wet a surface. Decyl Glucoside, being a mild surfactant, can help in hydration of the skin. It is also incorporated in certain anti-aging products because of its ability to wet the dermal layers and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

An animal study done rats demonstrated that decyl glucoside and other compounds in an emulsion could effectively deliver anti-cancer drugs like 5-fluorouracil. It facilitates the transdermal administration of the drug.

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Decyl Glucoside can be useful for the health of your scalp too.  

Due to its foam-forming capacity, many shampoos contain Decyl Glucoside as a surfactant. It clears off dandruff from the scalp and helps maintain the hair and scalp's natural pH balance. By washing away the dried scalp skin cells, it opens up the pores and facilitates sebum drainage. Not only does it bring a shine to your hair, but its mild nature also keeps your hair soft and frizz-free.

Decyl Glucoside has also been used as an inactive ingredient alongside an active ingredient for antimicrobial activity. Some antibacterial liquid hand washes, as well as hand soaps, contain Decyl Glucoside as a surfactant.  


Decyl Glucoside is a Sulfate. 

You might have come across shampoos or soaps that are labeled as "SLS-free." It means they are sulfate-free ( devoid of Sodium lauryl sulfate), which can be harmful to your skin's health. Decyl Glucoside also contains a form of sulfate. It is made of Sodium coco-sulfate, which is a safer alternative to Sodium lauryl sulfate. Because of its plant origin, it is less irritating to the skin than SLS. 

What are the potential Side Effects of Decyl Glucoside?

Decyl Glucoside is almost 100% safe on the skin compared to other Alkyl polyglucoside. As stated above, it is non-toxic and completely biodegradable because of its 100% natural plant origin.

The experts of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel, also known as the CIR, have accredited Decyl Glucoside is a completely safe ingredient to be used when assessed along with nineteen other alkyl glucosides. It also doesn't have any adverse effects on the body organs or reproductive health.

However, some cases have been reported that specific individuals have shown hypersensitive reactions towards Decyl Glucoside.  

Someone with allergic reactions towards Decyl Glucoside can show symptoms such as: 

  • Skin Irritation. 
  • Redness 
  • Itching 
  • Skin Burning  

Though it's rare, it is always a wise decision to do a patch test before you start using any product containing Decyl Glucoside.

Some clinical studies have also demonstrated that using skincare products containing Decyl Glucoside can cause Contact Dermatitis in individuals having Type-4 hypersensitivity reactions to Decyl Glucoside. Though the rate of this to occur is considerably low, it is probably best to consult your dermatologist.  

The Bottom Line: 

Decyl Glucoside is used for various purposes.

You can find it in washes, shaving foams, liquid soaps, shampoos, and other hair care products.

It is also a common ingredient used in baby products.

You can include Decyl Glucoside products in your daily personal care regime and enjoy its multiple benefits.

However, a patch test before use is essential as some cases of allergic reactions have been reported.