What Is It?
The Laureth ingredients (Laureth-1, Laureth-2, Laureth-3, Laureth-5, Laureth-6, Laureth-7, Laureth-8, Laureth-9, Laureth-10, Laureth-11, Laureth-12, Laureth-13, Laureth-14, Laureth-15, Laureth-16, Laureth-20, Laureth-21, Laureth-25, Laureth-30, Laureth-38, Laureth-40, Laureth-50) are polyoxyethers of lauryl Alcohols are a large class of important cosmetic ingredients but only ethanol needs to be denatured to prevent it from being redirected from cosmetic applications to alcoholic beverages.. The number in the name indicates the average number of units of ethylene oxide in the molecule. In cosmetics and personal care products, the Laureth ingredients are used in the formulation of a variety of bath, eye, facial, hair, cleansing and sunscreen products. They are also used in cuticle softeners, deodorants and moisturizing products.
Why Is It Used?
The following functions have been reported for the Laureth ingredients.
- An ingredient that helps two substances that normally do not mix to become dissolved or dispersed in one another. Also called a surface active agent. – cleansing agent: Laureth-16, Laureth-20, Laureth-21, Laureth-25, Laureth-30, Laureth-38, Laureth-40
- Surfactant – emulsifying agent: Laureth-1, Laureth-2, Laureth-3, Laureth-5, Laureth-6, Laureth-7, Laureth-8, Laureth-9, Laureth-10, Laureth-11, Laureth-12, Laureth-13, Laureth-14, Laureth-15, Laureth-16, Laureth-50
- Surfactant – solubilizing agent: Laureth-20, Laureth-21, Laureth-25, Laureth-30, Laureth-38, Laureth-40
The Laureth ingredients are produced by reacting ethylene oxide with lauryl alcohol. The numerical designation refers to the average number of repeating ethylene oxide units in the molecule. As the numerical value of Laureths increases, the viscosity of the ingredient increases until they become white, waxy solids.
The safety of the alkyl PEG An organic compound that contains an oxygen atom bound to two hydrocarbon groups. An ether compound is often represented by R-O-R’. ingredients, including the Laureth ingredients has been assessed by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 as an independent safety review program for cosmetic ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel consists of independent experts in dermatology, toxicology, pharmacolgy and veterinary medicine. The CIR includes participation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that the Laureth ingredients were safe as used in cosmetic products when formulated to be non-irritating.
CIR Safety Review:
Based on similar structures, the CIR Expert Panel determined that the alkyl PEG ether compounds, including the Laureth ingredients could be reviewed together. Developmental and reproductive toxicity studies as well as mutagenicity data were all negative for these compounds. These compounds can irritate the skin. Therefore, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that the Laureth ingredients, as well as the other alkyl PEG ether ingredients were safe as used when formulated to be nonirritating. Small amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of ethoxylation, may be found in the Laureth ingredients.
The potential presence of this material is well known and can be controlled through purification steps to remove it from the ingredients before blending into cosmetic formulations.
More information about 1,4-dioxane
The Laureth ingredients may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the Under the general provisions of the cosmetics regulation of the EU, ingredients appearing on the following function-specific annexes must comply with the listed restrictions and/or specifications: colorants (Annex IV), preservatives (Annex V), UV filters (Annex VI) and other ingredients with specific concentration limits and/or other restrictions (Annex III). Ingredients specifically prohibited from use in cosmetic products are listed in Annex II. Other ingredients listed in the EU cosmetic ingredient database (CosIng) may be used without restrictions..
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/product_labelling_and_packaging/co0013_en.htm
More Scientific Information
Laureth ingredients are polyethylene glycol ethers of lauryl alcohol that contain repeating ethylene oxide units. These ingredients are useful in cosmetic and personal care products as surfactants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers and solubilizers.
Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/