Triethanolamine

Functions
Emulsifier
Solubilizer
Surfactant
Penetration enhancer
CAS Number(s)
102-71-6
EINECS number(s)
203-049-8

Triethanolamine (may be marked as TEA) is an organic amine with three hydroxy groups; thus, it is also a triol. TEA is produced by the ammonolysis of ethylene oxide. It's a multifunctional ingredient in skin care formulations that acts as an oil-in-water emulsifier, solubilizer, and surfactant. In addition, TEA is a weak organic alkali base that adjusts the pH of acidic formulas.

In addition, Triethanolamine is a penetration enhancer that helps other ingredients to pass the skin barrier. Thanks to hygroscopic properties, it captures water molecules; thus, it is helpful in moisturizing preparations and shampoos. TEA is also a good stabilizer for emulsions, other surfactants, preservatives, and fragrances, thanks to low volatility at room temperature.

Triethanolamine is commonly used in lotions and creams to convert Stearic acid to TEA-stearate or to neutralize Carbomer to convert it to a gel or to thicken it.

Active ingredients (or INCI)

TEA
Synonyms
2,2',2''-Nitrilotriethanol
Trolamine

Ingredient products

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