Trideceth-12  is the the polyethylene glycol (PEG) ether of tridecyl alcohol, with 12 units of ethylene oxide in the molecule (; it is sometimes derived from vegetable oil.



  •   Used as a surfactant


  • It is seen in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products as both a surfactant, and is known to prevent the build-up of silicones, or counteract other products that build up in hair. Therefore, it is most often found in shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products.


  • The Cosmetics Database finds Trideceth-12 to be a low hazard ingredient, only noting concerns regarding organ system toxicity and irritation. The EWG does note data gaps, or a lack of information available regarding this ingredient. It is “Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful” by the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List, and is also “Classified as medium human health priority.”
  • According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEGs (including Trideceth-12) can contain harmful impurities, including: Ethylene Oxide, known to increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program; 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen; PAHs, known to increase the risk of breast cancer; lead; iron; and arsenic (Source).
  • Products and formulas containing PEGs should not be used on broken or irritated skin. Although PEGs are considered safe for use topically on healthy skin, studies showed that patients suffering from severe burns were treated with PEG-based antimicrobial cream; this treatment resulted in kidney toxicity. “The PEG content of the antimicrobial cream was determined to be the causative agent. However, no evidence of systemic toxicity occurred in studies with intact skin. Because of the observation of kidney effects in burn patients, the CIR Expert Panel qualified their conclusion on the safety of the PEG ingredients to state that cosmetic formulations containing these ingredients should not be used on damaged skin” (



Other names

the polyethylene glycol (PEG) ether of tridecyl alcohol


Source: TruthinAging,

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