Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)

Safety Information

PFAS compounds, particularly perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), have received a lot of media attention related to possible health risks because they can remain in the environment and the human body for long periods of time. However, manufacturing processes have changed such that PFOA is no longer used. Cosmetics and personal care products companies continue to advance innovative product technologies, and the industry is working towards eliminating the use of PFAS in cosmetics and personal care products.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved PTFE as an indirect food additive used as a component of adhesives. The FDA also approved it as a component of resinous and polymeric coatings.

Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety

The Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety (Expert Panel) has thoroughly reviewed scientific data supporting the safety of several PFAS in cosmetics and personal care products.

In 2018, the Expert Panel assessed the safety of 12 fluoropolymers, fluorinated side-chain polymers and fluorinated polyethers, concluding PTFE and hexafluoropropylene/tetrafluoroethylene copolymer are safe in cosmetics and personal care products in the current practices of use and concentration.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFOA is not used in consumer products made with fluoropolymers and fluorinated telomers, including Teflon® and other trademark products. While some may have contained trace amounts of PFOA and other related PFAS as impurities in the past, the EPA states that the routine use of consumer products containing PFAS like Teflon does not pose a health concern based on currently available data.

PTFE may be used as a cosmetics ingredient without restrictions under EU cosmetics regulations.


Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)

What Is It?

Teflon®, the brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is the most widely recognized PFAS. This chemical has been used in various commercial applications since the 1940s, including non-stick coatings for cookware, fabric protectors for stain resistance and some cosmetics and personal care products.

Why Is It Used?

A small number of PFAS are used as bulking agents or to improve consistency and texture in cosmetics and personal care products, such as lotion, nail polish, eye makeup and foundation. PTFE and perfluorononyl dimethicone/methicone/amodimethicone crosspolymer are the most common PFAS used in cosmetics and personal care products.