The most important representative of the betaine group is cocamidopropylbetaine; it's often used as a replacement for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This creates a mild surfactant which is less irritating and provides increased foaming power: you need only half as much Cocamidopropylbetaine compared to SLS. This is because betaines are comparable to soap, more precisely, they are surface-active agents which means they reduce the surface tension of water.
Cocamidopropylbetaine can be used in cosmetic Nautral Poland products for cleansing and lathering, especially in baby products or other mild cleansing formulations with less irritating potential. It's also suitable for shampoos combined with antimicrobial lipids (1).
When choosing Cocamidopropylbetaine it's important that you buy a product which is free from ethylene oxide residues because these oxidize over time into nitrosamines which may cause cancer (2). Ethylene oxide was once widely used to sterilize medical equipment butis now banned. However, this substance is still used in the production of certain chemicals which are then disposed to water treatment plants before they end up in rivers and oceans.
Similarly to many other functional ingredients, the benefits of Cocamidopropylbetaine are not limited only to cosmetic formulations because it can also be observed when used for medical purposes. For example, it promotes healing of chronic leg ulcers (3). Researchers observed an acceleration of healing when these wounds were bathed with solutions containing 5% or 10% Cocamidopropylbetaine (4). These results could be explained by an increase in epidermal cells at the wound site after just 7 days of said bathing. There was also a notable improvement regardingthe wound's cleanliness and epithelialization (5). The conclusion was that bathing with watery solutions of Cocamidopropylbetaine helps to accelerate the healing process because the active ingredient reduces bacterial activity and enhances proliferation of healthy skin cells.