Acetamide MEA

What Is It?

Acetamide MEA an amide made from acetamide and monoethanolamine (MEA), also called ethanolamine. It is a clear liquid. In cosmetics and personal care products, Acetamide MEA is used in the formulation of bubble baths, hair conditioners, shampoos, wave sets, moisturizers, and other bath and hair care products.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

Acetamide MEA increases the water content of the top layers of the skin by drawing moisture from the surrounding air. It also enhances the appearance and feel of hair, by increasing hair body, suppleness, or sheen, or by improving the texture of hair that has been damaged physically or by chemical treatment.

Scientific Facts:

Acetamide MEA, also called Acetamide Monoethanolamine, is produced synthetically and is usually marketed as a 70-75% aqueous solution.

Safety Information:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Acetamide MEA (as N-acetyl ethanolamine) on its list of approved indirect food additives. It is permitted for use as a component of adhesives having incidental contact with food. The safety of Acetamide MEA has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Acetamide MEA is safe in rinse-off products, and in leave-on products at concentrations not to exceed 7.5%. Cosmetics and personal care products containing Acetamide MEA should not contain nitrosating agents or significant amounts of free acetamide.

More safety Information:

CIR Safety Review: Acetamide MEA exhibited no acute toxicity following dermal exposure. In ocular irritation studies, 70% Acetamide MEA and cosmetic formulations containing 1.3% Acetamide MEA were not irritating to the eyes. Only mild skin irritation occurred following a 24 hour skin exposure to undiluted Acetamide MEA. In a sensitization test, Acetamide MEA was classified as a nonsensitizer when tested at a concentration of 5.0%.

Neither primary irritation nor sensitization reactions to 7.5% Acetamide MEA were observed in a human repeated insult patch test. Acetamide MEA was not nonmutagenic in bacterial tests. The CIR Panel noted that in the presence of nitrosating agents, Acetamide MEA may form N-nitroso compounds, which are potential carcinogens. Acetamide may be a minor impurity in Acetamide MEA. Therefore, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that cosmetics and personal care products containing Acetamide MEA should not containe nitrosating agents or significant amounts of free acetamide.

More information about nitrosamines.

Link to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations for N-Acetyl Ethanolamine (Acetamide MEA)…

Acetamide MEA may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information:

Acetamide MEA is an aliphatic amide. In cosmetics and personal care products, Acetamide MEA functions as a skin conditioning agent – humectant and hair conditioning agent.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory