Identified on skincare product labels as DEA, triethanolamine (TEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA), these are used primarily for their foaming ability in shampoos, but can also be used as thickening or binding agents. They can be skin sensitizers. In addition, alkyloamides contain a free amine that can combine with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in cosmetics, and there is concern that they may form harmful substances.

See triethanolamine

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!