Zinc Ricinoleate

Commonly found in:

  • Deodorant
  • Anti-perspirant
  • Odor absorbers

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database:

  • Safety Rating - 2
  • Data - Limited

Also identified as:

  • Zinc Salt
  • Ricinoleic Acid


Zinc Ricinoleate is the zinc salt of ricinoleic acid.  The zinc source is zinc oxide and the ricinoleic acid is a purified fatty acid that is naturally occurring in castor seed oil.

This ingredient is a highly effective deodorizer that works by chemically trapping and absorbing odor molecules that form due to the bacterial decomposition of perspiration.  In basic terms, this ingredient binds itself to the very substances that cause odor so that the odor is no longer perceivable.  Unlike other ingredients designed to inhibit perspiration, Zinc ricinoleate does not exhibit either bactericidal or fungicidal properties.  As such, it does not interfere with the natural flora of skin.

Zinc should not be considered a toxic metal. In fact, zinc deficiency is a condition suffered by a relatively small number of people who must supplement their diets to maintain healthy levels of this important nutrient.  There are some concerns regarding safety, however most of these are linked to the role castor oil plays in this ingredient.  Contrary to common assumptions, castor oil does not contain the very toxic compound ricin.  Although present in the plant itself, ricin is water soluble and does not dissolve in the oil that comes from the castor beans.


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