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Cetrimonium Chloride

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 20, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Cetrimonium Chloride


Cetrimonium chloride, along with Cetrimonium bromide and Steartrimonium chloride belong to a group called quarternary ammonium salts. These chemicals are used in many different types of personal skin care products as well as in many hair care products.
The main job of Cetrimonium chloride is to stop the build up of static electricity in hair, which in turn makes hair smoother and easy to manage. Cetrimonium chloride, along with its counterparts, has a positive charge that attracts them to the negative charge found in hair proteins.

History and Origin

Cetrimonium chloride, as well as its other counterparts, are all positively charged, which enables them to attract negatively charged particles of hair proteins making hair smooth to touch. The Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has concluded that Cetrimonium chloride is safe to use as a rinse-off product for hair. As a leave-on product for hair care, it was safe up to concentrations of up to 0.25%.

Ancient Uses

The use of Cetrimonium chloride for hair care was not known during the ancient times. Hair care however, was already done with the use of extracts of oils, nuts, fruits and herbs. These were not just effective in cleaning and conditioning hair but were also perfect in treating some hair conditions like dandruff, itching, inflammation of the scalp and baldness in both men and women.

Modern Uses

In modern times, Cetrimonium chloride is used as a detangler in hair care products. It is added to most shampoos and conditioning agents since it can attract negatively charged hair proteins making hair smoother and more manageable thereby eliminating tangles and knots. Cetrimonium chloride and its counterparts are also perfect for destroying odor in packaged products. It destroys or prevents growth of harmful bacteria by mixing water with oil.
Insoluble solids may still be dissolved in liquid through Cetrimonium chloride. It forms emulsions by reducing the surface tension of various ingredients in a solution to make an even and perfect stable blend of ingredients.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel gives a positive review on Cetrimonium chloride and its counterparts. They are considered safe to use as an ingredient for cosmetics and personal skin and hair care products.

Side Effects

There are no untoward side effects with the use of products that have Cetrimonium chloride. It may thus be used by people with extra sensitive skin and even for babies that also have sensitive skin as well.

If you have sensitive skin, it is important to seek a dermatologist opinion regarding the ideal product or brand to use. Never use treatments of products without a medical professional’s opinion first to prevent untoward side effects. Learn how to read product labels and know the various chemicals that may cause more harm than good to your hair and skin.

However, never use hair care products with Cetrimonium chloride on damaged scalp and on scalp with open wounds. Never use this product if you have irritation or inflammation on scalp even if the product is a rinse-off type of hair care product.
Cetrimonium chloride, along with its counterparts may be used in cosmetics provided that they follow strict guidelines on formulation and preparation.

Read also: Allantoin

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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