Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Um, What?! Wednesday

This is the very first Um, What?! Wednesday! Every Wednesday I'm going to break down one ingredient commonly found in personal care products; giving you the good, the bad and the ugly. Today its all about EDTA, my absolute favorite chemical (don't ask me why, I'm a nerd!). Here are the facts:

EDTA and its salts-- anything listed that has EDTA somewhere in the name-- is found in just about all skin care treatments including lotions, creams, body wash, soap, shampoos and conditioners. Its official chemical name is (insert deep breath here) ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. Its defining quality is the ability to bind metal ions. Popular applications in your personal care products are preservative and foaming/lather agent. As a preservative it prevents deterioration of the product, protects the fragrance, and prevents rancidity (common in products whose ingredients include water). It combines with metals such as calcium, magnesium and iron to achieve foam or lather. EDTA also keeps metals from being deposited on your hair, skin and scalp (cleanliness is of utmost importance right?).

Not only is this chemical known for getting the job done, its also been deemed safe by the FDA for food and cosmetic applications. That's right, its safe enough to eat!!!! In reference to cosmetic and personal care applications, it is not a skin irritant or sensitizer, nor is it a carcinogen (won't cause cancer). It results in very little skin penetration, so if found in your blood stream, its only in trace amounts.

I absolutely love this chemical!!!! See you next Wednesday!


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