Aminomethyl Propanol - The Dermatology Review

Aminomethyl Propanol

ARTICLE

09.25.20 AD DISCLOSURE

What Is Aminomethyl Propanol?

Aminomethyl propanol is a synthetic ingredient that is used in skincare and cosmetic formulations to adjust the pH of the product.  The pH of products is an important element of formulating if a product is too basic or acidic it can affect the skin’s natural acid mantle, causing irritation and sensitivity. 

Aminomethyl propanol is a synthetically produced ingredient. Aminomethyl propanol is classed as an aliphatic alcohol which means that it is a straight chain alcohol. 

Aminomethyl Propanol

the good:Aminomethyl propanol is used to adjust the pH of formulations. 

the not so good:Aminomethyl propanol is safe and not thought to cause irritation or sensitivity.

Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it. 

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients 

Keep an eye on:Aminomethyl propanol is generally used in low concentrations. You may see it on the bottom of your ingredients list. 

What Are The Uses of Aminomethyl Propanol?

In cosmetics and skincare products, aminomethyl propanol is used in the formulation of creams and lotions, hair sprays, hair dyes and colors, eye and facial products, and other hair and skin care products.

The main function of aminomethyl propanol in these products is to establish and hold the pH. In chemistry, pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and it refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity in a given solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, while a pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is basic or alkaline.

The skin’s normal pH is slightly acidic, typically between 4.5 and 5.75. This acidity of the skin is often referred to as the ‘acid mantle’ and is maintained by our skin’s natural oils, sweat, and normal skin flora. The acid mantle provides a protective film of amino and lactic acids and oils that effectively protect skin from environmental factors such as allergens, pollutants, and bacteria that contribute to premature aging and irritation.

There are many factors that can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin’s acid mantle, both internally and externally. Some research has suggested that our skin becomes more acidic as we age in response to our lifestyle and our environment. Everything that comes in contact with our skin, such as cosmetic products, sun, water, pollution, etc., can contribute to the breakdown of the acid mantle. Disruption of the skin’s acid mantle interferes with the skin’s ability to protect itself.

Balancing the pH of cosmetics and skin care products is important to maintain the skin’s normal pH as closely as possible since a pH that varies too much from normal can lead to problems. For instance, if a product is too acidic it may irritate the skin or cause a stinging sensation. However, if a product is too alkaline it will deplete your skin of vital, natural lipids or oils. Skin that is too alkaline can be more susceptible to acne because a certain level of acidity is needed to inhibit bacterial growth on the skin. Additionally, a disrupted acid mantle will not allow for products to absorb into the skin as well.

By using an ingredient like aminomethyl propanol, cosmetic manufacturers can adjust the pH of their formulations, resulting in a product that is better tolerated by the skin whilst still getting all the benefits from key ingredients. 

Is Aminomethyl Propanol Safe?

A safety assessment for aminomethyl propanol was first published by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for evaluating the safety of skincare and cosmetic products, in 1990. At that time, the Panel concluded that at concentrations not exceeding 1%, aminomethyl propanol was safe for use in cosmetics. However, more recent data suggests the safety of these ingredients at concentrations higher than 1%.

The Expert Panel noted that although pure aminomethyl propanol is highly alkaline, when it’s used in cosmetic products the end product doesn’t cause irritation or sensitivity. In clinical studies, aminomethyl propanol was neither a primary dermal irritant nor dermal sensitizer, and was found to be a minimal to moderate eye irritant.

In 2007, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on aminomethyl propanol. Based on new information supporting the safety of aminomethyl propanol at concentrations up to 7%, the Panel concluded that this ingredient is safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.

References:
Burnett, C, et al. 2009. ‘Final Amended Report on Safety Assessment on Aminomethyl Propanol and Aminomethyl Propanediol’, International Journal of Toxicology.

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