Tetrasodium EDTA

You will find this ingredient in many of the hair and skin care products you have in your home. It acts as a preservative and has seen widespread use in the personal care and beauty industry. There are concerns voiced about this chemical, however, despite its properties of inhibiting the growth of mold in the product and preventing the deterioration of the other active ingredients. Like the parabens that I discuss on this site, there are even reports that it may potentially lead to cancer when it is used in high concentrations. While it is prevalent in many of the skin creams, shower products and lotions you may use, it is important to be informed before you make a purchase that may end up doing more harm than good in the long term.

use of tetrasodium edta in skin care products

How Does Tetrasodium EDTA Work?

The main purpose of this chemical is, as mentioned above, to reject the growth of mold in products and prevent them from going bad. In that sense, this chemical is added as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of these products much like parabens are. The way this ingredient works is by neutralizing meta ions, the elements that make products expire and lose their efficacy.

It is also used in skin care products by lessening the natural barrier on the outer layers of the skin and allow the product to penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers. All of the skin issues that you see on the surface of the skin — rashes, acne, redness and other irritation — are the result of an underlying issues deeper within the skin. The use of Tetrasodium EDTA helps the product go further into the skin to repair the source of the problem.

It should be noted, however, that this weakening of the skin’s barrier can have a negative effect, as it may allow harmful chemicals and other free radicals to get into the skin. There are worries that long term exposure to this chemical when used as a regular part of your skin care routine, especially when allowed to go deep into the skin, may cause serious health issues such as cancer.

Side Effects

While cancer is said to be a potential side effect after long term use, the most noticeable short term effect can be witnessed by skin irritation. With all of the reports of the possible side effects of such a chemical, it is best to go with products that do not contain these. Unfortunately, this ingredient is so widely used because it does its main purpose so well, that it has become the norm for most formulations out there. However, you are not limited to products that contain this chemical. There are many natural skin care ingredients that can be used to serve the same purpose. While they may require patience to see the full results, you can rest easy knowing what you are putting on and in your body. You could also seek out products that contain Vitamin E instead, a common alternative ingredient that serves the same preservative purpose as Tetrasodium EDTA.