Benefits: Oil Control
Categories: Solvent, Suspending/Dispersing Agent, Texture Enhancer
Triethyl citrate functions as a viscosity-increasing agent in cosmetic formulations and is sometimes used as a solvent in perfumes and other beauty products. It may also be used to enhance the dispersion of UV filters in sunscreen, critical for reaching the desired SPF level.
Interestingly, triethyl citrate has been studied in conjunction with ethyl linoleate, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and certain retinoids where it was shown to help improve the efficacy of each. These studies suggest that it has a positive effect on the microenvironment of pores and keratolytic activity. Likewise, research suggests triethyl citrate is suitable for blemish-prone skin and oil control.
Suppliers of this ingredient also tout its use in deodorant where it is said to inhibit certain odiferous components of sweat.
Technically speaking, triethyl citrate is the triester of ethyl alcohol and citric acid. As a raw material, it is supplied as a clear, colorless, oily liquid. According to the Personal Care Products Council, this ingredient can be sourced naturally through plants or synthetically created in the lab.
The 2014 Cosmetic Ingredient Review safety report surveyed 244 personal care products containing triethyl citrate in 0.0008-6% concentrations. The expert panel analysis was that triethyl citrate is safe as used under these parameters. Further nodding to this ingredient’s safety, triethyl citrate earns GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a direct food additive by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Fun fact: Triethyl citrates is found naturally in cabbage and some white wines.