Commonly found in:

  • Hair care
  • Moisturizer
  • Cleanser
  • Hand cream

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database:

  • Safety Rating - 1
  • Data - Limited

 Consider these Alternatives:
Misuse of Terms

Simplifica products with this ingredient:

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Also identified as:

  • PEG-8 Tridecyl Ether




All Trideceth ingredients are polyethylene glycol (PEG) ethers of tridecyl alcohol and are produced by reacting ethylene oxide with tridecyl alcohol. The number (in this case 8) represents the average number of units of ethylene oxide in the molecule. Trideceth 8 is most frequently used as an emulsifying agent in cosmetic formulations. Other Trideceth ingredients can be used as cleansing agents and solubilizing agents as well.

The manufacturing process (ethoxylation) used for Trideceth ingredients can create contamination by 1,4-dioxane. Although this contaminate can be easily removed through a simple purification process, in 2008 1,4-dioxane was found in up to 46% of all personal care products tested.

All PEG's are considered potential skin and eye irritants and those containing Lauric acid to a higher degree. However, the Toxicology journal conducted a study in 2005 and deemed all PEG's of a molecular weight range between 200 to more than 10,000 and including their ethers and fatty acid esters were safe for use in cosmetics. The most significant cautionary note on safe use is that they should never be used on damaged skin. Studies indicate that patients suffering from severe burns were treated with a cream containing PEG's and the treatment led to kidney toxicity. The presence of PEG in the cream was identified as the causal link.

All PEG's do have a tendancy to contain harmful impurities, which can include Ethylene Oxide, Polycyclic aromatic compounds and 1,4-dioxane, lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, camium and arsenic. Although these impurities can be easily removed by manufacturers, a study in 2008 found that up to 46% of all personal care products tested contained 1,4-Dioxane. This clearly indicates manufacturers are not taking this important step.


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