INCI Names

KchouKchou Member

I'm interested in knowing if the chemical names in the INCI directory are connected to specific chemical structures/CAS number, and if there is some resource for this available online. 

I'm curious about this because I found that cosmetic peptides are completely arbitrarily named, with a prefix denoting the length and an arbitrary number at the end. Is cosmetic peptide production mainly limited to a few suppliers who keep it consistent? If not, what's stopping company A from putting any old peptide into their formulation and calling it "tripeptide-1"? 

Thank you! 


  • DASDAS Member
    Yes, the INCI rely on IUPAC, and are made by the PCPC. 

    You will find more info here:
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    All names for cosmetic ingredients are assigned in the INCI dictionary. You can’t arbitrarily make up a name.  However, the INCI doesn’t always follow the IUPAC system. There are some different stem names for hydrocarbons & for other ingredients it’s not possible to determine molecular structure from the name. Polyquaternium 7 says virtually nothing about its structure.
  • KchouKchou Member
    Thank you DAS and Perry for the quick response. 

    Yes, I understand the difference between the IUPAC and INCI naming systems. But does every chemical in the INCI directory have a corresponding IUPAC name, and if so, is the full INCI directory the only resource that has it? 

    I bring this up because it is well understood that glycerin = glycerol, but I can't find much information on what "oligopeptide-1" is. The information I find tells me "it is an effective skin conditioning ingredient" but no information on its chemical structure. 
  • DavidDavid Member
    edited June 2018
    The oligopeptide-1 is a 55 amino acid long peptide with Mw 6500. It would get a quite long IUPAC name - that's probably why you can't find it...
  • DavidDavid Member
    edited June 2018
    here is oligopeptide-10  a shorter peptide- enjoy :smile:

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    "does every chemical in the INCI directory have a corresponding IUPAC name"

    No.  That's because there are a lot of INCI names that refer to chemical blends rather than single ingredients IUPAC focuses on single ingredients.

    Although most INCI names probably have a corresponding CAS number.
  • KchouKchou Member
    Hi David and Perry, 

    Thank you so much for your answers! I really truly appreciate it. 

    David, can I ask you where you obtained that information from? Is it from your own work? 

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