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Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Veterinarian Reviewed on April 23, 2013 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Cocamidopropyl betaine


Cocamidopropyl betaine or CAPB is a chemical that is derived from the processing of coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. It is regarded as a main ingredient in many personal skin care products because it is a surfactant and has the ability to reduce irritation from ionic surfactants.

Cocamidopropyl betaine is used in many industries, among them those that make soaps, shampoos, and the cosmetic industry. This chemical also has antiseptic properties and is used in some sanitary products as well. Cocamidopropyl betaine is considered an alternative for Cocamide DEA.

History and Origin

Cocamidopropyl betaine is derived from the processing of coconut oil. It is 62 – 66% water and its active ingredient is 29.5 – 32.5%. The remaining percentage is NaCl plus impurities. Though the amount of impurities in cocamidopropyl betaine may not be that high, many experts believe that these may account for the small percentage of the population who experience skin irritation when they use personal care products containing this ingredient.

Ancient Uses

The coconut fruit, where cocamidopropyl betaine is partially derived, has been extensively used for many personal as well as household uses. Coconut meat is eaten and the husk of the coconut fruit is used for fuel. The oil derived from the meat is also used for fuel and as a treatment for skin and hair conditions. Coconut oil was seen as a great remedy for dry hair, dandruff, baldness, etc.

Modern Uses

Its foam-generating properties make it a desirable ingredient in many skin and hair care products, as well as in hand sanitizers, facial wash, bubble baths and more.

In sanitary products such as feminine washes, cocamidopropyl betaine is one of the main ingredients due to its antiseptic and cleansing properties.

Side Effects

A small number of people may experience a skin reaction (either a sensitivity or a true allergy) from using products with cocamidopropyl betaine. It is presently unclear whether these may be due to impurities present from its processing, such as 3-dimethylaminopropylamine, rather than to cocamidopropyl betaine itself.

Read also: Seizures

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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