Most Popular in:


Email This Item! Print This Item!

Ingredient Hysteria and Misconceptions

By: Carol and Rob Trow
Posted: January 2, 2014, from the January 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Ingredient Hysteria and Misconceptions

page 3 of 4

Disodium EDTA. Disodium EDTA and its salts are used as chelating agents in cosmetics. The typical concentration is less than 2%. The CIR expert panel recognized this ingredient as safe. A definitive research document on the safety of disodium EDTA was published in the International Journal of Toxicology. Spanning 47 pages referencing more than 250 articles and research studies, this report concludes, without reservation, that the use of disodium EDTA is safe for use in cosmetic formulations. Despite this overwhelming evidence, there are still claims that question the safety of disodium EDTA.

The importance of education

How do you separate fact from fiction, fear-mongering from science, marketing hype from truth? The best bet is to ask the right questions and follow up with a persistent search for independent, third-party scientific documentation. Too much of what is communicated to skin care professionals comes from individuals and companies driven by self-interest. Demand proof of claims and, if someone is attacking an ingredient’s safety, seek out the other side of the assertion. There are always two sides to the stories you hear or read about.

When searching for information, do not stop at the first few sites that come up. Take the time to look deeper as you search for information. Visit sites that are founded in scientific research, chemistry and toxicology. Seek out information outside of the traditional skin care organizations, company information and websites. Remember, you have a responsibility to your profession, your clients and yourself to become well informed about the truth.


  1. F Wise and MB Sulzberger, The 1938 Yearbook of Dermatology and Syphilology, Year Book Publishers, Chicago (1938)
  2. B Berne, M Nilsson and A Vahlquist, UV irradiation and cutaneous vitamin A: an experimental study in rabbit and human skin, J Invest Dermatol 83 401–404 (1984)
  3. AM Kligman, GL Grove, R Hirose and JJ Leyden, Topical tretinoin for photoaged skin, J Am Acad of Dermatol 15 836–859 (1986)
  4. J Fuchs, ME Huflejt, LM Rothfuss, DS Wilson, G Carcamo and L Pack, Acute effects of near ultraviolet and visible light on the cutaneous antioxidant defense system, Photochem Photobiol 50 739–744 (1989)
  5. D Alberts, Safety and efficacy of dose-intensive oral vitamin A in subjects with sun-damaged skin. Clin Cancer Res 10 6 1875–1880 (2004)
  6. (Accessed Nov 12, 2013)
  7. Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, Final report on the safety assessment of propylene glycol and polypropylene glycols, J. American College of Toxicology 13 (6) 473–491 (1994)
  8. PD Darbre, Environmental oestrogens, cosmetics and breast cancer, Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 20 1 (2006)
  9. DK Mirick, S Davis and DB Thomas, Antiperspirant use and the risk of breast cancer, J Natl Cancer Inst 94 20 1578–1580 (2002)
  10. (Accessed Oct 29, 2013)
  11. (Accessed Nov 11, 2013)
  12. JR Byford, LE Shaw, MG Drew, GS Pope, MJ Sauer and PD Darbre, Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells, J Steroid Biochem, 80 49–60 (2002)
  13. AV Rawlings and KJ Lombard, A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil, Int J Cosmet Sci 34 5411–5518 (2012)
  14. SM Peck and AW Glick, A new method for measuring the hardness of keratin, J Soc Cosmet Chem 7 6 530–540 (1956)
  15. MM Rieger and DE Deem, Skin moisturizers II the effect of cosmetic ingredients on stratum corneum, J Soc Cosmet Chem (25) 253–264 (1974)
  16. (Accessed Nov 12, 2013)
  17. (Accessed Nov 12, 2013)

Carol Trow began her career as a nurse and later transitioned into the field of professional service marketing as the director of marketing for a Fortune 1000 company. She went on to start a marketing firm that specializes in practice enhancement for plastic surgeons, cosmetic dermatologists and medical spas. Carol has 20 years of experience in the medical skin care field working with Environ. Trow and her husband own DermaConcepts, the exclusive United States distributor of Environ Skin Care. She can be reached at