Coconut Oil

How Industries Utilize Lauric Acid for Various Uses

As the health benefits of lauric acid become increasingly well-known, the market for this coconut oil derivative is rapidly growing. Here is how industries utilize lauric acid.

The rising trend of sustainable products among global customers increased the use of oleochemical products. In this article, we will discuss a well-known plant-based fatty acid, lauric acid, which is abundant in coconut oil. Lauric acid industrial uses are diverse, from pharmaceutical to food and beverage and skincare.

What is Lauric Acid?

Coconut oil and coconut

Lauric acid is a saturated fatty acid extracted from natural oils, most notably coconut oil. Around half of the fatty acids in coconut oil comprise lauric acid. The percentage of lauric acid in coconut oil can reach around 45 to 53 percent, making it a significant source of this fatty acid.

Lauric acid has become more relevant in global industries. Future Market Insights projected lauric acid market to quadrupled in size, from USD 165 m in 2022 to USD 683.9 M in 2032. The growing demands for various products, such as skincare and haircare products, have contributed to positive growth in the lauric acid market.

Lauric acid is known for having a lot of industrial uses beyond skincare and haircare products, which will be elaborated on in the next part.

Why Lauric Acid Has Many Industrial Uses

Coconut, bottle, and magazine

Industrial uses of lauric acid are globally widespread because of good reasons.

Lauric acid is an ideal product for profitable industries with a large customer base. It is versatile and can be processed into many beneficial chemicals.

Lauric acid also has a long shelf life and is easy to handle, making it an efficient industrial component. Companies can utilize it for large-scale productions, achieving the intended effects for the final products and earning profits.

Finally, there is a growing sustainability trend to consider. A 2022 survey by IBM on 16,000 international consumers revealed the growing consciousness toward the sustainability aspect of personal purchasing decisions. This could contribute to the shift toward coconut oil and its derivatives over petrochemical-derived products.

How to Obtain Lauric Acid

Palm tree

Lauric acid is present in palm kernel oil, some fruits, human breastmilk, and even some insects. Since our major focus is coconut oil, we will briefly explain the way to obtain lauric acid from coconut oil.

Lauric acid is obtained through two major steps: the extraction of the coconut oil from copra and the fatty acid from the oil, using a process called fractionation.

Extracting the Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is extracted from copra, the dried white meat of the mature coconut. After the flaking and grinding process, copra flakes go through the cooking and drying process. The result is a copra meal from where the crude coconut oil is extracted.

The crude oil will go through the refining, bleaching, and deodorizing stages (RBD). The resulting oil is then fractioned into several components, including lauric acid.

Extracting the Lauric Acid

Coconut and oil in the bottle

The extraction of medium-chained fatty acids (MCFA) happens after the crude coconut oil is refined. To separate lauric acid from other fatty acid types, the manufacturer uses separation and fraction methods—utilizing different melting points between the acids.

Lauric acid’s melting point is around 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius). When it melts at different temperatures from other fatty acids, it can be easily separated in a process called fractionation. Afterward, it goes through multiple distillation, refining, and esterification stages using a special mixture that contains methanol.

Lauric acid has a solid form and white color at room temperature, and it is mostly sold as powder or flakes.

Lauric Acid for Skin Products

Applying the liquid on hand

Skincare and skin-related products are among the most popular lauric acid applications in global industries. It is a popular base for products with various functions. Some applications include:

1.      Cleansing

Woman applying cosmetic cream on face

Lauric acid is a popular base for cleansing products. It removes impurities without drying skin and can be found in facial foam and cleansers. Lauric acid can also be used as a cleanser with a deep-cleaning feature that does not make the skin dry.

When it comes to cleansing products, lauric acid is different from chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs. Lauric acid can prevent dryness and irritation caused by strong reactions toward AHAs and BHAs, especially for product users with sensitive skin.

2.      Emulsifying

Woman applying cosmetic cream on hand

Another popular lauric acid industrial use in skincare is emulsifying. It prevents watery and oily ingredients from separating, keeping the texture intact. Products that list lauric acid as an emulsifier are varied, such as deodorants, creams and lotions, cleansing products, and fragrances.

3.      Surfactant

Ethnic smiling woman wiping face with cotton pad

Lauric acid is known as a surfactant. It helps alter the connection between watery and oily molecules, allowing cleansing products to remove dirt and oil from your skin. Lauric acid can be processed into surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

4.      Possible Anti-acne

Woman Applying Clay Mask on Her Face

Can lauric acid reduce acne? There is no conclusive study about lauric acid’s benefits for acne-prone skin. However, a 2016 study showed that there might be bactericidal effects in lauric acid. It can be a starting point for manufacturers to start researching possible acne treatment quality in lauric acid.

Lauric Acid for Pharmaceutical Industry

team research

Coconut oil has various health benefits that cannot be credited to lauric acid alone. However, there have been studies that showed lauric acid’s potential health benefits. Pharmaceutical companies can consider these findings to research health and medical products.

Lauric acid supplement is commonly sold as “monolaurin supplement” in the form of capsules. Monolaurin is the byproduct of lauric acid that gives health benefits to the body. The supplement is made by combining lauric acid with glycerol, turning it into glyceride powder, making it easier to turn into capsules. These supplements are widely available under various brands such as Lauricidin, Eleva, Forest Leaf, and New Life Naturals.

Study showed that the human body is able to ingest lauric acid in coconut oil, turning it into monolaurin. However, the human body seems to have a less favorable conversion rate in turning lauric acid into monolaurin. Therefore, there is still no exact formula for how much coconut oil one must consume to get the same beneficial effects as a monolaurin supplement.

Some possible health benefits of lauric acid include:

·         Reducing Blood Pressure

Clean medical tonometer with hands on white background

Lauric acid might be a part of cardiovascular health products. A 2016 study in Brazil showed that lauric acid reduced blood pressure and heart rate in rats with hypertension.

·         Supplementing Keto Diet

Keto diet

Coconut oil is a popular fat source for the keto diet, and the lauric acid inside helps increase the amount of HDL in the blood, known as the “good cholesterol”.

·         Fighting Bacteria


When combined with other fatty acids and essential oils, lauric acid might have the ability to combat bacterial activities. This is similar to how lauric acid is viewed as having an anti-acne function.

Lauric Acid in Cleaning Product Industry

Woman is cleaning

Lauric acid industrial uses include cleaning agents and products. Its major function is surfactant agent, which brings oil and dirt particles to the surface, making them easier to clean and wash away. Lauric acid also causes the foaming action in products like detergent, dishwashing liquid, and floor cleaning liquid.

Just like in skincare products, lauric acid is used to produce emulsifiers in cleaning agents, like sodium lauryl sulfate. The fatty acid prevents ingredient molecules from separating, making sure that the products retain their textures. Lauric acid also serves as a solvent agent to wash away the adhesive.

Lauric Acid in Other Industries

Woman is working

Lauric acid (and other fatty acids from coconut oil in general) has widespread uses in various industries. Other examples include:

·         Industrial Lubricants

Lauric acid is an excellent component in lubricating agents. It is used in industries such as automotive and metalworking.

·         Metal Working Fluid

Rusty metal

The more specific uses for lauric acid in metal working include rust prevention and degreasing liquid, especially in machine and component maintenance.

·         Release Liquid for Rubber and Plastic

Rubber and plastic industries use lauric acid to release components or products from their molds. It helps create high-quality products with minimum amounts of defects.

·         Textile Conditioner

Hanging clothes

Lauric acid is important in the textile industry. It serves as a conditioning agent, creating better texture on the fibers and leather textures.

With these widespread lauric acid applications, industries can use this fatty acid as a reliable, cost-effective ingredient.

Lauric Acid and Monolaurin: Are They the Same?

Hand holds the little coconut

Lauric acid and monolaurin are often mentioned interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same.

Monolaurin is a type of chemical product derived from lauric acid. When you look at lists of ingredients on various products, you may see monolaurin labeled as glyceryl laurate or glycerol monolaurate. It is used in the production of cleansing agents, detergents, and cosmetics. However, monolaurin is also available in health products.

The trend of using monolaurin as a health supplement started in the 1960s. It is still available widely as an over-the-counter supplement. While no exact studies prove the full effects of monolaurin supplements, there are several possible health benefits to get from it.

The most common reasons people take monolaurin supplements are for the immune system, digestive health, and antibacterial effects. Monolaurin also shows promising results in medicating conditions caused by bacteria that are immune to regular antibacterial medication.

Monolaurin supplement market also sees an increasing market projection. In 2020, its market value was at USD104.1 million. It is projected to reach a value of USD165.6 million by the end of 2027.

There are no severe effects from consuming monolaurin supplements, but consumers still need to find their supplements from reputable brands. Make sure to discuss with a physician before taking any supplement, especially when taking other medications or undergoing specific medical therapies.

People suffering from coconut oil allergy should be cautious of potential allergens. Find a monolaurin supplement that is clearly labeled as free of allergens.


Broken coconut

Lauric acid is one of the most versatile fatty acids, and coconut oil is a rich source of it. Industries can benefit from lauric acid in high-quality coconut oil for a wide range of applications. Lauric acid works as a surfactant, emulsifier, industrial lubricant, and other important functions.

Lauric acid has diverse uses and can be used in various industries. From skincare and body care manufacturers to textile, metal, and rubber, lauric acid is a wonderful ingredient with numerous benefits and future potential.

Getting coconut oil—the source of lauric acid—is easy with OilCocos. While we do not provide lauric acid uses for industries, we supply top coconut oil in various containers for a wide range of industrial needs. Contact OilCocos at [email protected] for samples, price inquiries, or visit arrangement to our facility, and start planning for your next restocking with only the best coconut oil.

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