Capric/caprylic trigyceride VS glycerin - what's the difference

AVisotskyAVisotsky Member
edited August 2019 in Science
Hello, dear chemists. Could you please explain in a layman language why Caprylic/capric triglyceride doesn't have the same properties as glycerin?
One of my customers (who is avoiding glycerin) is asking based on this description:

"Capric/caprylic triglycerides are naturally occurring in coconut and palm kernel  oils at lower levels  but to make this pure ingredient, the oils are split and the specific fatty acid (capric acid and caprylic acid are isolated and recombined with the glycerin backbone to form the pure capric/caprylic triglyceride which is then further purified (bleached and deodorized) using clay, heat, and steam. No other additives or processing aids are used."

I'd really appreciate your insights,


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2019
    It all comes down to the existence of -OH (oxygen/hydrogen) bonds in Glycerin that are not present in Carpic/Caprylic triglycerides. 

    This is a vast simplification but in general molecules that have -OH groups tend attract water. Thus glycerin is a humectant.

    Triglycerides have no free -OH groups plus they have a large segment of carbon-hydrogen bonds. So, they do not attract water or behave in a humectant way like glycerin.

    When capric/caprylic triglycerides are made, the glycerin used to make them is used up in the chemical reaction. It no longer has any of the properties that glycerin once had.

    This is true of most any chemical reaction. Hydrogen is a gas and Oxygen is a gas but when you combine them to make water, you get a completely different molecule which behaves in a completely different way.
  • Perry, thank you! This is what I needed
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