Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Ceteareth-20 at a glance

  • Fatty (non-irritating) alcohol often used to thicken/enhance the texture of skin care formulas
  • Can also be used as a surfactant (cleansing agent)
  • Helps other ingredients in a formula stay mixed together/stable
  • Track record of safety backed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel

Ceteareth-20 description

Ceteareth-20 is a fatty (non-irritating) alcohol that plays various roles in skin care formulations. It can be used as a surfactant (cleansing agent) or to thicken/enhance the product’s consistency. It can also be used to help other ingredients in a formula solubilize and stay mixed together/stable, which contributes to efficacy. Ceteareth-20 has a track record of safe use in cosmetics and is backed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Their most recent report (at the time of this writing) looked at products containing up to 11% ceteareth-20.

Ceteareth-20 references

  • CosmeticsInfo.org, Accessed October 2021, ePublication
  • Journal of Functional Biomaterials, August 2020, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2012, pages 169S-244S

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.