What Is It?
Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Bromide and Steartrimonium Chloride are quaternary ammonium salts. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of hair conditioners, hair dyes and colors, other hair care products, and in some skin care products.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
All three ingredients prevent or inhibit the buildup of static electricity. Cetrimonium Chloride and Cetrimonium Bromide also help to cleanse the skin or to prevent odor by destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away. They also help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified and help to distribute or to suspend an insoluble solid in a liquid.
Cetrimonium Chloride and Bromide, and Steartrimonium Chloride, carry a positive charge that attracts them to the slightly negatively charged skin and hair proteins, accounting for their use as antistatics. In addition, Cetrimonium Bromide has the ability to disrupt the surface membranes of microorganisms and has been used in antiseptics.
The safety of Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Bromide and Steartrimonium Chloride has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that all three ingredients were safe for use in rinse-off products and were safe for use at concentrations of up to 0.25% in leave-on products.
More safety Information:
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel reviewed data that indicated that Cetrimonium Bromide given orally is poorly absorbed from the intestine. Cetrimonium Bromide applied dermally was absorbed into the skin, but not rapidly. Dermal irritation and sensitization and ocular irritation were seen with these quaternary ammonium salts.
Repeated insult patch tests of concentrations of up to 0.25% Cetrimonium Chloride produced no sensitization reactions, although irritation was observed during induction.
Cetrimonium Bromide caused developmental effects following intraperitoneal injection of 35 or 10 mg/kg. Dermal exposure to 2% Cetrimonium Chloride produced no evidence of developmental effects; nor did 2.5% Steartrimonium Chloride. All mutagenesis assays used were negative.
Cetrimonium Bromide, Cetrimonium Chloride, and Steartrimonium Chloride are listed as alkyl (C12-C22) trimethyl ammonium bromide and chloride in the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union. These ingredients may be used as preservatives at a maximum concentration of 0.1%.
More Scientific Information:
Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Bromide and Steartrimonium Chloride are quaternary ammonium salts. The quaternary nitrogen atom in these compounds always carries a positive charge regardless of the pH of the system. In cosmetics and personal care products, all three ingredients are used as antistatic agents. Cetrimonium Chloride and Cetrimonium Bromide are also used as cosmetic biocides and surfactants (cleansing, emulsifying, and suspending agents) and Steartrimonium Chloride is used as a surfactant.