When you go through the list of ingredients in your favourite shampoos or conditioners, you will surely come across the word Disodium EDTA or EDTA. I am sure many a time you might have wondered what is this ingredient and why is it added in your hair care product. One thing is for sure that the manufacturers won’t add an ingredient without any reason. In this article, we will be discussing all that you need to know about Disodium EDTA.
What Is Disodium EDTA?
Disodium EDTA is a white crystalline powder which is odourless and has a slightly salty flavour. It is also known as edetic acid. You will frequently find this name in the skincare and haircare products. Sometimes the name Disodium EDTA gets replaced by EDTA on the label of the beauty products. EDTA stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. It comes under a special class of chemicals called the chelators. Chelators are chemicals which react with the metal ions in such a way that it minimizes the effects of the metals and minerals with which it is bonded, thus, preventing chemical reactions which may cause deterioration of colour or flavour.
Role Of Disodium EDTA In Cosmetics
Disodium EDTA is popularly known as a chelating agent and acts as a water-soluble acid which is a strong emulsion stabilizer. It is mainly used in cosmetic products for controlling viscosity. EDTA binds with the metals ions and deactivates them, thus preventing your cosmetic products and other personal care products from degrading or deteriorating. It is extensively used in creams, body lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, styling gels, hair styling sprays and serums. Disodium EDTA preserves cosmetic products and personal care products from undergoing unwanted changes in texture, colour, pH levels and fragrance. Apart from binding with metals such as calcium, iron or magnesium, Disodium EDTA helps in enhanced foaming and also exhibits cleansing property.
In beauty and personal care products, EDTA is commonly found in moisturizers, creams, body lotions, hair serums, shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, hair bleaches and personal care products like soaps and toiletries. In shampoos, bath soaps and hand washes EDTA helps with enhanced foaming and lather formation. EDTA helps prevent your beauty and personal care products from going rancid. It retains its colour, fragrance and texture.
How Is Disodium EDTA Beneficial For Hair Care?
Disodium EDTA is extensively used in many hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair styling gels, hair serums, styling sprays, hair colours, hair dyes, styling mousses because of its beneficial properties. Let’s check how EDTA is beneficial for your hair and how is it effectively used in many hair care products.
- Disodium EDTA acts as a chelating agent in hair care products and binds with metal ions in a specific manner such that it deactivates the metal ions, prevents the metals from being deposited on your scalp and hair.
- It binds with minerals and forms complexes with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. It enhances the foaming and cleaning properties of your favourite shampoos.
- It helps increase the shelf life of your hair care products by retaining its colour, texture and fragrance.
- It counteracts the effect of hard water and enhances the foaming and cleansing property of the hair care products.
- It binds with the heavy metals ions present in tap water such as calcium, magnesium and chlorine and protects your scalp.
- Due to the calcium present in hard water, your shampoo does not lather and does not give the desired effect, but EDTA binds with calcium and strips it off from water and your shampoo is able to perform better.
- It does not penetrate your skin or scalp and hence is considered safe for topical use.
- It retains the proper formulation of your hair care products and protects it from going rancid.
- It exhibits astringent property due to which it helps the hair cuticles in shrinking, thereby making your hair shinier.
- It helps to remove debris and the residues of shampoos and conditioners which tend to make your hair look dull.
- It acts as a preservative in hair care products as well as a pH adjuster.
- It helps to improve the stability of your hair care product as well as its performance.
Because of these incredible properties, Disodium EDTA is used in almost all the hair care products.
Some Common Uses Of EDTA
These beneficial properties are harnessed not only in hair care products but also in skincare products such as facial creams, moisturizers, sunscreens, lotions and personal care products like soaps, hand washes, shaving creams, deodorants. In fact, EDTA is widely used in all the beauty and personal care products because it acts as a chelator, as a preservative and as a stabilizer, thereby enhancing the performance and increasing the shelf life of your products.
Hence, EDTA is commonly used as a food additive, in cosmetic products, in industrial products and medicinally as well.
- In the food industry, Disodium EDTA or commonly known as EDTA is used as a preservative and a flavouring agent. It prevents the food from spoiling and is known to increase the shelf life of food. It is mainly found in canned food items like canned peas, beans and legumes, canned fish, crab and shrimp, pickles and canned carbonated soft drinks.
- In cosmetics and personal care products, EDTA is used for softening hard water, as a cleanser and as a foaming agent. It prevents the deposition of metal on your skin, hair and scalp.
- Disodium EDTA is used in the manufacturing of paper and textiles because of its ability to prevent discolouration. It is also extensively used in industrial germicides, laundry detergents, surface disinfectants due to its cleaning property.
- Medicinally EDTA is used to treat metal toxicity, such as mercury or lead poisoning. EDTA which acts as a chelator binds with the excessive metal in the blood and is thrown out of the body through urine.
Side Effects Of Disodium EDTA
Disodium EDTA is generally considered safe for topical application as it does not penetrate the skin. People with hypersensitive skin should consult a dermatologist before using any skincare or haircare products containing EDTA. However, people with hypersensitive skin may experience rashes, redness, hives, swelling, itching sensation or swollen lips, face and tongue. If you see any of these conditions, discontinue its use and immediately seek the advice of a health care professional. It is considered to be safe when taken in small amounts, but still pregnant women and nursing mothers can consult a doctor before using Disodium EDTA or its derivatives. EDTA is used in small amount as a food additive which is considered safe, but when taken in large amount or higher doses of EDTA can lead to diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. But the amount of EDTA that you get from food is in very minute amount, so the chances of developing adverse effects are very less.
Disodium EDTA is used in the food industry, cosmetic industry, medicinally and for industrial purposes because it acts as an excellent preservative, a chelator and a stabilizer. It is generally considered to be safe for topical application as it does not penetrate into the skin. When used in moderation it is not known to have any possible side effects.
Written By - Akhila Menon
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