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Used in cosmetics as a pH balancer and emulsion stabilizer. Like all amines, it has the potential for creating nitrosamines. There’s controversy as to whether or not this poses a real problem for skin, given the low concentrations used in cosmetics and the theory that nitrosamines cannot penetrate skin.
Triethanaolime is typically used in amounts less than 1% in cosmetics; concentrations of 2.5% have been found to be non-irritating when applied to skin. It is also added to foods.
Reference for this information:
International Journal of Toxicology, May-June 2013, pages 59S-83S
Contact Dermatitis, May 2009, pages 243-255
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, October 2005, pages 10-18
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
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