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

Official CosIng Information


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

Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar Neutrogena Hypoallergenic Cleanser Transparent Bar Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel Wardah Lightening Face Toner Clinique For Men™ Aloe Shave Gel Freezeframe BB Blur 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 EyeNlip Moisture Essence Mask Salmon Oil Folia Tepescohuite Hydrogel Forever Aloe Vera Gelly LING SKINCARE Spotlight Papaya Resurface Peel Monu Eye Make-Up Remover Gel Natio Pore Unclogging Face Scrub Neostrata PHA Facial Cleanser PACKage Melt Me Softly Nose Strip Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Retexturizer Exfoliating Scrub Raaga Detan tan removal cream Silk'n Slider Hyaluronic Gel Urban Veda Rose & Botanics Daily Reviving Facial Wash Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot Anti-Imperfections Care Wardah Acnederm Pore Refining Toner XMONDO HAIR Glitterati CULLUN Gentle Facial Cleansing Gel DECLÉOR Aroma Solutions Prolagene Gel DECLÉOR Phytopeel Exfoliating Cream Elizavecca Witch Piggy Hell Pore Galactomyces Premium Ample IOMA 1 Hydra Moisturising Skin Care Water Illamasqua Sealing Gel L'Oreal Paris White Perfect TRW Night Cream MINISO Intensive Hydration Moisturiser Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub Peter Thomas Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser Pond's Fragrance-Free Cold Cream SVR Xerial 50 Extreme Crème Pieds Seger snow Skin Moisturizing Cream Sisley Ecological Compound The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% VMV HYPOALLERGENICS Hydra Balance Smart Moisturizer Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot Anti-Imperfection Care Au Fairy Soothing Spell 100% Organic Aloe Vera Gel Balay Aloe Vera 99% Soothting Gel Biotherm Lait Corporel Anti-Drying Milk