What Is Sodium Methyl Cococyl Taurate? Is It Skin-Safe?

Get your facts right before including this skin-friendly ingredient in your haircare regimen.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Enrizza Factor, MD
By Anjali Sayee

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a surfactant derived from coconuts. This natural and biodegradable ingredient is milder than other surfactants (like sulfates). You can use sodium methyl cocoyl taurate products for skin issues in adults and babies. It helps improve the skin texture and keeps it soft and smooth. This article explores the various benefits and safety of this ingredient. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Sodium Methyl Cococyl Taurate?

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a mild surfactant derived from coconut. It is white and has a paste-like consistency. It is found in many skin and hair care products like cleansers and shampoos (rinse-off products), including baby products. However, it is also used in leave-on products like foundations and face powders and other products like mouthwashes and breath fresheners (1).

According to Dr. Sandra El Hajj, Founder & President of The American Preventive Health Organization, “Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate or SMCT is the best alternative to harsh silicones and is safe for use due to its minimal side effects.”

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry, MD, says, “ Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is mild, less potent, and does not alter the skin pH. As a result, it is suitable for people with sensitive skin.” This ingredient has numerous benefits. Let’s take a look.

What Does It Do?

  • Taurates like sodium methyl cocoyl taurate are mild anionic surfactants. They are commonly used in sulfate-free shampoos to cleanse the scalp without drying as they have a chemically stable pH (2).
  • Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate can enhance the penetration of other ingredients in the skin (1).
  • Taurine surfactants may also exhibit antioxidant properties, regulate inflammatory responses, and enhance the skin barrier function (3).
  • Since it is a non-drying cleanser, it can keep the skin soft and moisturized after use. It is also said to be safe and gentle for sensitive skin.

There are two ways to prepare sodium methyl cocoyl taurate. Find out in the next section.

How Is Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Made?

Method 1
  • SMCT is prepared by dissolving N-methyl taurine (a coconut fatty acid amide) in a blend of sodium hydrate, isopropyl alcohol, and water.
  • A mixture of lauric acid, sodium chloride, and sodium hydrate is added to the solution.
  • A solution of calcium chloride and hydrochloric acid is added to the blend.

The mixture is then refined, strained, and dried, forming a whitish powdery substance. It can also be found as a solution mixed with water and sodium chloride (1).

Method 2
  • In this method, coconut fatty acid amide – N-methyl taurine, sodium methyl taurate solution, and boric acid are heated at 200° C.
  • It is then distilled in water and stirred at lower heat and pressure levels.
  • The mixture is cooled down to form a wax-like substance that is powdered.

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is added to almost all skin care and hair care products. Here are some of the products you can find this mild surfactant in.

What Products Is It Commonly Found In?

  • Face washes
  • Low pH anti-acne products
  • Shampoos
  • Body washes
  • Face masks
  • Toothpastes
  • Liquid soaps
  • Bubble bath soaps
  • Skin creams
  • Skin lotions
  • Baby care products
  • Oral products

Although sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is mostly considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions.

Is It Safe For The Skin?

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate may cause (1):

  • Redness and skin rash (erythema)
  • Eye irritation

Hence, always do a patch test before using products with sodium methyl cocoyl taurate.

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a mild, natural, and biodegradable surfactant. People use sodium methyl cocoyl taurate for skin care issues in adults and infants due to its mild nature. It helps keep your skin smooth and soft without drying. It can also improve the absorption of other ingredients into the skin. You can find this ingredient in face washes, lotions, shampoos, skin creams, baby care products, etc. However, it may cause side effects like redness and irritation in some. So, do a patch test to avoid these reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sodium methyl cocoyl taurate safe during pregnancy?

There is not much information or research available about using sodium methyl cocoyl taurate when pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is generally thought to be safe, it can induce adverse effects. To avoid these reactions, perform a patch test.

Is sodium methyl cocoyl taurate the same as SLS?

No. Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a prominent substitute that is used by companies for SLS. It is a gentle, long-lasting surfactant with excellent foaming properties but no irritating properties.

Key Takeaways

  • Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a surfactant or wetting agent derived from coconut.
  • It is a biodegradable, mild, and naturally obtained ingredient.
  • So, it doesn’t alter the skin’s natural pH and moisture balance when used in cosmetics.
  • It is commonly used as a natural substitute for sulfate in many skincare and haircare products.

References:

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Safety Assessment of Alkyl Taurate Amides and Taurate Salts as Used in Cosmetics
    https://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/taurat122015FR.pdf
  2. A Review of Shampoo Surfactant Technology: Consumer Benefits, Raw Materials and Recent Developments
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ics.12439
  3. Compositions Comprising Taurate Surfactants and Methods of Using the Compositions
    https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/93/25/38/332c18b701b95e/WO2018125033A1.pdf
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
The following two tabs change content below.
author
Anjali specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. Her philosophy... more

Dr. Enrizza Factor

(MD)
Dr. Enrizza Factor is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and Fellow of the Philippine Academy of Dermatologic Surgery... more

LATEST ARTICLES