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Triethanolamine in Cosmetics

If the average person were to review the ingredients of just a small sample of cosmetics from a drugstore shelf, they would likely notice a recurring pattern of certain unfamiliar chemical names. One such common chemical cosmetic ingredient is triethanolamine.

Triethanolamine is used as an emulsifier and surfactant in everything from hand cleaners and cosmetics to paints and printing inks. It is a relatively cheap ingredient that has been known to cause allergic reactions including dermatitis.

But the overuse of potentially dangerous chemicals has earned the attention of researchers. In fact, “The National Cancer Institute nominated triethanolamine for study because of its widespread use in cosmetics and other consumer products, its high potential for worker exposure due to its many industrial uses, and its potential for conversion to the carcinogen N-nitrosodiethanolamine.”(1)

From rat research, it was determined that “The incidences of hepatocellular adenoma and hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma (combined) were significantly increased in all dosed groups of females.” and “The incidence of hemangiosarcoma of the liver in 630 mg/kg males was marginally increased. The incidences of eosinophilic focus in all dosed groups of mice were greater than those in the vehicle controls.” The mice also showed skin lesions that increased in severity with increasing applications.(1)

Thus, we may conclude from the study that Triethanolamine is potentially carcinogenic as well as a possible skin irritant in humans.

It is recommended that the consumer research the ingredients of their favorite moisturizers and cosmetics and avoid products that are still using triethanolamine.

(1) NTP toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of triethanolamine (Cas No. 102-71-6) in B6C3F1 mice (dermal studies).

Stockton Aloe 1 has reformulated their famous “Youth Derm Ointment” to use only ingredients from the “Whole Foods Approved” list of cosmetic ingredients. The new formula continues to use 70% pure aloe vera gel from the Barbadensis Miller Stockton specie. Triethanolamine is not used in the new formula. Furthermore NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED OR USED FOR TESTING of this new superior formula.

2 thoughts on “Triethanolamine

    I wish someone would email me and tell me if their experiences with this Triethanolamine they won’t let you use it in Europe
    it took about 6 bottles of the Banana Boat aloe gel but when I got a reaction it was bad my neck turn to crepe paper all the skin fell off my temples in my face burn the skin under my ears and after a month now I’m still getting reaction from it my arms have a big red modded spots on them I hope to the right person reads this and can help I tried to contact an attorney but they said there wasn’t enough money in it I’m not the kind of person to sue anybody
    question is doubt chemical the one that’s making this crap if so I’ll look up the address and go there personally

    This is excellent news. Good for you!

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