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Toxicological information

Skin irritation / corrosion

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skin irritation / corrosion
other: Review report
Type of information:
migrated information: read-across from supporting substance (structural analogue or surrogate)
Adequacy of study:
supporting study
2 (reliable with restrictions)

Data source

Reference Type:
Fatty acid sulphoalkyl amides and esters as cosmetic surfactants.
Petter P.J.
Bibliographic source:
International Journal of Cosmetic Science 6, 249 ¿ 260.

Materials and methods

Principles of method if other than guideline:
The author provides a comprehensive review of the manufacture, properties and applications of the anionic surfactants known as taurates and isethionates (fatty acids sulphoalkyl amide and esters, respectively).  This includes a review of the toxicological properties, with emphasis on the skin irritancy.
GLP compliance:

Test material


Results and discussion

Any other information on results incl. tables

In the paper, the lack of skin irritation is documented as the most noteworthy (toxicological) feature of the isethionates.  Petter refers to reviews by other authors (Frosch, 1982; Fremaux, 1982) to substantiate this.  A review by Frosch found that isethionate based bars were milder than any other product. 

Data published by Fremaux demonstrates the mildness of SCI to skin compared to other commonly used anionic and amphoteric surfactants.  In Fremaux's study the following surfactants were tested for irritancy on intact rabbit skin (various concentrations, ranging from 1.8 to 28%, kept in contact with shaved skin for 24 hours), to give an irritation rating versus concentration:

Sodium lauryl sulphate,

TEA-lauryl sulphate,

Cocounut acid cycloimidinium derivative,

ammonium laureth-3-sulphate

sodium cocoyl isethionate

Fremaux found that irritancy decreased in the order given above, with alkyl sulphates (e.g. sodium lauryl sulphate) being the most irritant and isethionate showing only negligible irritation As reported by Petter, the reduced differences in irritancy have been related to the effects of surfactants in reducing water binding capacity of the stratum corneum.  The author refers to a study by Middleton (1969), which demonstrates that sodium lauryl sulphate can extract lipid from the corneum cell walls, resulting in increasing permeability and allowing the escape of intracellular water soluble substances, responsible for much of the water binding ability.  SLI was found to extract less material from the cell wall and had little effect on water binding.  The study by Fremaux also found water binding data consistent with this for these two types of surfactants.

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Interpretation of results:
slightly irritating
Migrated information Criteria used for interpretation of results: expert judgment
Data reviewed by the author demonstrate that isethionates, including SCI have low irritancy to skin.