Clean Up: Cocamide DEA and Cocamide MEA

Sunday, March 02, 2014

cocamide dea cocamide mea harmful effects
source: prevention.com
A lot of the time I'm alerted of potentially harmful beauty ingredients when I'm reading through user-submitted reviews of products online, particularly reviews of so-called "natural" products. I was doing just that when someone pointed out that a product contained "cocamide DEA," something I hadn't heard anything about previously.

Cocamide DEA, also known as cocamide diethanolamine, is a chemically modified form of coconut oil and has been listed as a known carcinogen in California since 2012. It can also cause contact dermatitis in those with sensitive skin. It's most often found in shampoos and soaps, and serves as a thickening and foaming agent. Since cocamide DEA is derived from coconut oil, many natural beauty product lines include it in their formulations. The FDA's stance on DEAs as of now is lax: "the FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics."

The EWG website provides a list of other names cocamide DEA might also go by:
AMIDES, COCO, N (HYDROXYETHYL) ; AMIDES, COCO, N- (2-HYDROXYETHYL) -; AMIDES, COCO, N- (HYDROXYETHYL) ; COCO MONOETHANOLAMIDE; COCO N- (2-HYDROXYETHYL) - AMIDES; COCONUT FATTY ACID MONOETHANOLAMIDE; COCOYL MONOETHANOLAMINE; EQUEX AEM; MONOETHANOLAMINE COCONUT ACID AMIDE; N- (2-HYDROXYETHYL) COCO FATTY ACID AMIDE; N- (2-HYDROXYETHYL) - AMIDES, COCO

Cocamide DEA is not to be confused with cocamide MEA, or cocamide monoethanolamine. Cocamide MEA is also derived from coconut oil and is used as a foaming agent and emulsifier, but is not thought to be carcinogen as of now, though it may contain trace amounts of cocamide DEA.

So ... the jury's still out on this one, but at least now I know!

Helpful links:
+ EWG Skin Deep: Cocamide DEA
+ Prevention Magazine: Cancerous Shampoo?!
+ Truth in Aging: Cocamide MEA

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