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* A pH balancer
* Also known as TEA
Triethanolamine is an amine produced by reacting ethylene oxide (considered highly toxic) with ammonia (another known toxin). It is used as a buffering agent, masking and fragrance ingredient, and surfactant, in addition to its primary use as a pH adjuster. Treithanolamine is used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products, including eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blushers, make-up bases and foundations, as well as in fragrances, hair care products, hair dyes, wave sets, shaving products, sunscreens, and skin care and skin cleansing products (Wikipedia and CosmeticsInfo.org). Triethanolamine is also used with in conjunction with fatty acids to convert acid to salt, which in turn becomes the base for a cleanser, according to OrganicConsumers.org. Additionally, it may assist in emulsion formation by reducing surface tension of the substances, enabling water and oil-soluble ingredients to mix.
Triethanolamine is FDA approved as an indirect food additive (aka it can be used in packaging) and CIR approved with concentration limits. The CIR determined that Triethanolamine was "safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended for prolonged contact with the skin, the concentration of Triethanolamine should not exceed 5%."
Triethanolamine is considered a moderate hazard ingredient by the Cosmetics Database, which notes as concerns. According to Cosmetic Ingredient Review, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is strong evidence that Triethanolamine is a human skin, immune system and respiratory toxicant. One or more animal studies show sense organ effects at very low doses, especially when used around the mouth, eyes and lips, and one or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results. It has been shown to cause bladder and liver cancer, as well as changes in testicles.
According to OrganicConsumers.org, Triethanolamine can cause allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. It can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin, all symptoms which may increase with higher concentrations (The Green Beauty Guide).
Triethanolamine should not be used in products containing N-nitrosating agents to prevent the formation of possibly carcinogenic nitrosamines. N-nitrosating agents include the preservatives Bronopol, Bronidox L, and sodium nitrate.
In order to comply with EU Annex III, it should contain less than 0.5% diethanolamine and less than 50 microgram/kg nitrosamines. Triethanolamine nf is free of diethanolamine. Not all Truth Vitality products mentioned below are formulated with Triethanolamine nf.
Truth Vitality Advanced Complex ($49 in the shop), Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop), M.A.D Skincare Radiant Brightening Mask ($38), Truth Vitality True Volume Conditioner with copper peptides ($35 in the shop), Truth Vitality Brow Empower ($39 in the shop)
As much as possible, products in the Truth In Aging shop are chosen for their safety profile as well as effectiveness.