Also known as Tetradecanoic Acid, Myristic Acid is a fatty acid found in nutmeg, palm oil, coconut oil, butter fat, and spermacetin, the oil from the sperm whale, according to Wikipedia. It has a variety of uses in the beauty industry, including as a: Fragrance Ingredient; Opacifying Agent; Surfactant; Cleansing Agent; and Emulsifier (Source). One of its primary properties is as a lubricant, due to its high rate of absorption by the skin.
The name myristic acid comes from nutmeg, or Myristica fragrans. 75% of nutmeg butter consists of trimyristin, a derivative of myristic acid. Coconut oil is also a prominent source of this compound, along with palm oil and butter fat. Myristic acid is a white crystalline powder that is not soluble in water. The salt of this compound is known as myristate.
Fatty acids are so named because they have an acid group at one end that is soluble in water — the COOH group — and the CH3 group at the other end that is soluble in oils and fats. Naturally-derived fatty acids have chain lengths of at least eight carbons. Fatty acids related to myristic acid include lauric acid, 12:0; palmitic acid, 16:0: and stearic acid, 18:0. These saturated fatty acids are found together in coconut oil.