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cocamide DEA and MEA
Both cocamide DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) are widely used to thicken the water phase of cosmetics, keep ingredients blended, and boost foaming properties. Derived from plants (typically coconut oil) or made synthetically, these ingredients have been thoroughly evaluated for safety and are permitted for use in leave-on products in concentrations up to 10%. Cocamide DEA can react with other ingredients to form harmful substances known as nitrosamines. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Board, “To prevent the formation of possibly [harmful] nitrosamines, these ingredients should not be used in cosmetics and personal care products containing nitrosating agents.” The CIR Expert Panel concluded that “Cocamide DEA was safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations of less than or equal to 10% in leave-on products.”
References for this information:
International Journal of Toxicology, May-June 2013, 3S, pages 26S-58S
About the Experts
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:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!