Veterinarian Reviewed on June 19, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Cocamide MEA is a special compound made from the fatty acids of coconut oil and monoethanolamine or MEA. This compound is typically used as a main ingredient in soaps, shampoos and skin care products.
Cocamide MEA is colored pale yellow to clear amber and may even be seen as partially solid in the form of flakes. It can also be called, Coconut fatty acid monoethanolamide, amides, coco, coco fatty acid amide and many more industrial names.
History and Origin
Cocamide MEA is purely made from fatty acids that are derived from coconut oils which are reacted with monoethanolamine. It is basically a mixture of ethanolamines which may also contain minute amounts of Cocamide Diethanolamine or Cocamide DEA. The review body that approved the safety of Cocamide MEA is the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel; they have added that the use of this chemical in various rinse-off products is safe while leave on products with Cocamide MEA is up to 10%.
The use of Cocamide MEA in ancient times was not heard of but the use of the coconut was considered a staple in many countries and cultures. The coconut was used as a food source, with the meat eaten raw or roasted while the water or juice drank to cleanse the body from digestive ailments. The coconut husk was used as a type of fuel.
During modern times, Cocamide MEA was considered a safe and effective chemical as an ingredient in many skin care and hair care products. The property of Cocamide MEA to foam up and thicken water based cosmetic products is also seen as an important factor.
This chemical is also a common ingredient found in emulsions like shaving creams, gels and skin care products. Since Cocamide MEA is derived from coconuts, it is seen as an ingredient that can make hair healthier, thicker, shinier, and more manageable. It can even be an effective ingredient in the treatment of some hair conditions like dandruff, scalp itching and the thinning of the hair.
It can also be a part of hand soaps, hand sanitizers, bath products and moisturizers. As compared to its chemical counterpart Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA is milder and has therapeutic effects. Cocamide DEA has the ability to irritate skin and may cause contact dermatitis in people with skin allergies and asthma.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, or CIR, has considered Cocamide MEA to be safe. It is non irritating and may not pose as a risk as a rinse off product. However, people with extra sensitive skin should take special care in using products with Cocamide MEA since it can also contain Cocamide DEA in minute amounts. Consult a dermatologist for a better skin care regimen if you have extra sensitive skin.
Infants and toddlers must also take extra care in the use of skin care products with Cocamide MEA. A dermatologist can also advise on ideal skin care products for a baby’s sensitive skin.
Cocamide MEA is found in most makeups so it is important for people with sensitive skin to try a small sample as a skin test before regular use.
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