Also known as DEA. DEA is a synthetic fatty acid that functions as a surfactant, emulsifier and foam boaster in personal care products such as shampoos, hair dyes and bath products. DEA itself is rarely used in cosmetics, but DEA-related ingredients in concentrations of 1-5% are. Residual build-up of DEA may be carcinogenic. S; studies on laboratory animals have shown a link between DEA/DEA-related ingredients and cancer. Additionally there is evidence that DEA reacts with nitrate preservatives in products to form nitrosamines; nitrosamines are carcinogenic chemical compounds that can cause cancer in humans. DEA-related ingredients are: cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate, triethanolamine.

Back to Glossary