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Triethanolamine

What-it-does: buffering
Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 2

Official CosIng Information

Details

It’s a little helper ingredient that helps to set the pH of a cosmetic formulation to be just right. It’s very alkaline (you know the opposite of being very acidic): a 1% solution has a pH of around 10.

It does not have the very best safety reputation but in general, you do not have to worry about it. 

What is true is that if a product contains so-called N-nitrogenating agents (e.g.: preservatives like 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, 5-Bromo-5-Nitro- 1,3-Dioxane or sodium nitrate - so look out for things with nitro, nitra in the name) that together with TEA can form some not nice carcinogenic stuff (that is called nitrosamines). But with proper formulation that does not happen, TEA in itself is not a bad guy. 

But let’s assume a bad combination of ingredients were used and the nitrosamines formed. :( Even in that case you are probably fine because as far as we know it cannot penetrate the skin. 

But to be on the safe side, if you see Triethanolamine in an INCI and also something with nitra, nitro in the name of it just skip the product, that cannot hurt.

Products with Triethanolamine

Dr. Sensitive Activated Charcoal Acne Control Soap Innoderm Teranex Soap Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar Neutrogena Hypoallergenic Cleanser Transparent Bar Biologique Recherche Creme Placenta Clean & clear essentials Facial Foaming Cleaner Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel Wardah Lightening Face Toner Clinique For Men™ Aloe Shave Gel CoverGirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara Freezeframe BB Blur Gillette Shave Gel Holika Holika Smooth Egg Charcoal Egg Soap Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme SkinCeuticals B5 Mask VICHY HOMME Anti Irritation Shaving Gel AMADORIS The Mask Breathe Artistry Anti-Wrinkle Amplifier Barbasol Thick And Rich Shaving Cream Bel clinic Peeling Scrub Perfectly Gommage Bioclean Gel Anti Barritos CeraVe Sa Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin Creme of Nature Plex Treatment DermDoc Anti Acne Face Wash EyeNlip Moisture Essence Mask Salmon Oil Folia Tepescohuite Hydrogel Forever Aloe Vera Gelly Forever Aloe Vera Gelly Garnier Whole Blends Miracle Nectar Reparing Leave In Helena Professional Hair Gel LING SKINCARE Spotlight Papaya Resurface Peel La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra Monu Eye Make-Up Remover Gel Natio Pore Unclogging Face Scrub Neostrata PHA Facial Cleanser Noxzema Triple Clean Anti Blemish Astringent Obagi Exfoderm Forte PACKage Melt Me Softly Nose Strip Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Retexturizer Exfoliating Scrub Raaga Detan tan removal cream SOMETHINGELSE Jasmine Green Tea Retexturing Treatment Tonique Silk'n Slider Hyaluronic Gel TonyMoly Vital Vita 12 Jelly Cleanser Urban Veda Rose & Botanics Daily Reviving Facial Wash Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot Anti-Imperfections Care Wardah Acnederm Pore Refining Toner XMONDO HAIR Glitterati 1000 Hour Hair Colour Mascara Black